The variety of kids being handled for dependancy to tranquilisers has doubled in a yr, to greater than 300, in line with Public Well being England.
The drug Xanax, and copies of it, accounted for the sharpest rise – from eight kids receiving remedy in 2016-17 to 53 in 2017-18.
Ambulance companies across the nation have additionally reported a rising downside.
In 2017-18, greater than 15,500 kids had assist for substance misuse, 88% for hashish.
The whole quantity receiving remedy was 5% down on the earlier yr,
Xanax is the model title for the drug alprazolam, a benzodiazepine prescribed for nervousness or panic assaults. However lots of the capsules taken by kids are copies purchased on-line, with no indication of their energy or whether or not they have been adulterated.
What are the consequences of benzodiazepines?
UK Dependancy Remedy group psychiatrist Dr Durrani says: “Benzos work by actually slowing down the capabilities of the mind, performing as a leveller in instances of excessive stress, over-excitement or nervousness.
“Critical side-effects can happen, together with slurring phrases and even whole blackouts.
“We’re seeing increasingly folks admitting themselves after changing into hooked on benzos.
“Most often, their misuse stemmed from utilizing the drug recreationally at events and mixing it with alcohol, which proves a poisonous mixture.”
What do the ambulance companies say?
The North East Ambulance Service, which supplied essentially the most complete particulars to a BBC Freedom of Info request despatched to 6 ambulance companies, mentioned that in 2017 it had attended 240 callouts for Xanax abuse by kids, two of which had been for 11-year-olds.
What about Public Well being England?
Medicine, alcohol and tobacco director Rosanna O’Connor says: “Regardless of fewer under-18s asking for assist with drug and alcohol issues, it stays a big situation and the newest information reveals an rising variety of younger folks needing remedy for benzodiazepines.
“Nonetheless, there may be restricted proof and information for these medication, so we don’t have a transparent image of adjustments in use.
“Benzodiazepines are dangerous when taken with out medical supervision and mixing them with alcohol or different medication will increase the danger of hurt, significantly when combined with different sedatives.”
What about different addictions?
The PHE report additionally says:
- the variety of kids receiving remedy for ecstasy dependancy rose by 18% over the identical interval
- 46% of the 15,583 kids being handled for substance misuse are being helped with alcohol points