20% increase in number of children referred for drug and alcohol treatment - Kirsty Williams
Responding to new Government statistics that show that 479 children under the age of 15 were referred for treatment for drug and alcohol misuse problems last year, a rise of 205 on the previous year
Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats responded:
"We have seen a year-on-year increase in the number of school children being referred for drug and alcohol treatment. We are all aware of the devastating impact that drugs and alcohol can have on the lives of anyone suffering from addiction but this is even more acute in young people.
"Children suffering from addiction to drugs and alcohol are unlikely to attain well in school and the knock-on effect of having problems so young are severe.
"I am calling on the Government today to review the way it deal with drug and alcohol misuse and treat it as a health issue rather than as a local government issue. The nature of addiction means it must be treated with the care and medical attention it deserves to allow people to overcome their addictions.
"Earlier this year we saw that one in 10 of all referrals for treatment for alcohol problems is a person under the age of 20. We must do more to help schools and parents to help their children not only understand the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, but also how to stand up to peer pressure and make safe choices for themselves."
Statistics can be found at: http://wales.gov.uk/docs/dsjlg/publications/commsafety/111027submisusereporten.pdf - Page 9 shows the age of those referred for help including 258 under 15's for alcohol and 221 under 15's for drugs alone or drugs combined with alcohol.
Last years figures can be found at: http://wales.gov.uk/docs/dsjlg/publications/commsafety/101020submisuse0910en.pdf - Page 9 shows the age of those referred for help including 218 under 15's for alcohol and 180 under 15's for drugs alone or drugs combined with alcohol.
Between 2009-10 and 2010-11 there has been a rise of 40 individuals for alcohol treatment and 41 individuals for drugs or drug and alcohol combined treatment.