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Tower Hamlets children as young as 12 referred for drug and alcohol treatment

PUBLISHED: 12:36 01 May 2014 | UPDATED: 12:48 01 May 2014

Children as young as 12 in Tower Hamlets have been referred for drug and alcohol dependency treatment (pic: PA Wire/Ian West)

Children as young as 12 in Tower Hamlets have been referred for drug and alcohol dependency treatment (pic: PA Wire/Ian West)

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Children as young as 12 are being referred to specialist drug and alcohol treatment services in the borough.

A child can be referred if they have started abusing substances themselves or if they are being exposed to the misuse of drugs and alcohol through parents or relatives.

The Press Association obtained the information by approaching Tower Hamlets council with a Freedom of Information request.

The most common reason for children to come into contact with these substances is through their parents, treatment experts suggested. They said preventative work is key to heading off misuse among young people.

Andrew Brown, director of programmes at charity Mentor UK, which works to protect children from drug and alcohol misuse, said he was shocked at the findings of the Press Association investigation.

He added: “We think it is vital that alcohol and drug education improve. Our own survey of teachers suggests that at the moment delivery is inconsistent, and that the norm is to timetable only one or two sessions a year.”

The Government agreed that all children should be fully educated on the dangers of drugs and alcohol including the affects they can have on the body and defended the current curriculum as meeting this requirement.

A new national curriculum being introduced in September says pupils in their final year of primary school must be taught to “recognise the impact of diet, exercise and drugs and lifestyle on the way their bodies function”.

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