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Primary school children 'at risk of drug addiction'

The Press Association findings, released today, indicate that children as young as nine have been referred to treatment centres in the Scottish Borders.

They say their investigation revealed primary school children are being flagged as at risk of becoming addicts.

Treatment experts said the most common reason for children to come into contact with drugs and alcohol is through their parents.

Preventative work is key to heading off misuse among youngsters and nationally, charities have called for improved drugs education in schools.

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Reacting to the Press Association findings the chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee said:

"I am deeply concerned that children so young are clearly gaining access to harmful substances.

"It is right that these youngsters receive the appropriate help but we must look at the source of their problems.

"It is vital that parents take responsibility and additional support is given to them in order to prevent children being exposed to drugs and alcohol in the first place."

– Keith Vaz, chairman, Commons Home Affairs Select Committee
  1. National

Hundreds of under-12's 'referred for drug treatment'

The Press Association have approached councils across the UK and found children as young as four being referred by education and children's services to alcohol and drug specialists.

In the Freedom of Information request, more than half of under-13s - 59% - received treatment for cannabis misuse, while a third were treated for alcohol misuse.

A small number abused solvents.

A bedroom at a treatment centre for drug addicts and alcoholics. Credit: PA/PA Archive

Eight-year-olds had been referred to services in Waltham Forest and East Ayrshire, while nine-year-olds had been referred in Herefordshire, Liverpool, Oxfordshire, Rutland, the Scottish Borders and West Berkshire.

Authorities in Bury, Calderdale, Halton, Hull, Monmouthshire and Rochdale had seen 10-year-olds referred.

Some 366 children aged 12 or under were referred for treatment in 2012/13 in England, according to the most recent figures from Public Health England, compared with 433 in 2011/12.


Full Report: Police launch drink drive campaign

People in Cumbria are being urged to call the police if they see anyone they've seen drinking attempting to drive home over the festive period.

Police say they will treat any tip offs as a priority and say the focus of this year's annual drink driving campaign is the responsibility of ordinary people to help keep the roads safe this Christmas.

Ryan Dollard reports.


Drinking alcohol in public places discussed in Borders

Members of the public are being asked to give their opinion on the future of drinking alcohol in public places in the Scottish Borders.

Scottish Borders Council is urging everyone to put forward their views on the Byelaws, which could see fines of up to £500 for drinking in public places.

The Byelaws would not apply for the Border Common Ridings, summer festivals and Hogmanay or New Years Eve.

The Scottish Borders is the only local authority in Scotland not to have such Byelaws in place.

"We are very keen to hear what people think about the proposed Byelaws.

"Of course everyone will have different opinions, but a key thing to remember is that we are the only local authority in Scotland not to have Byelaws in place.

"Our focus is to make the Borders a safer place so the aim of the Byelaws is to reduce anti-social behaviour which may occur as a result of drinking alcohol outwith the exempt environments."

– Councillor David Moffat, Executive Member for Community Safety, Scottish Borders Council

The enagaement process opens at 5pm this evening (17th June) and closes at midnight on 29th November 2013.

You can submit your views on the proposed byelaws here.

Alcohol price challenge thrown out

The minimum alcohol pricing challenge has been thrown out Credit: PA

A legal challenge to the Scottish Government's plans to introduce minimum pricing per unit of alcohol has failed.

A petition led by the Scotch Whisky Assosiation was refused at Scotland's highest civil court.

It was argued that the law breaches the UK's European Union treaty obligations because it would restrain trade.

The ruling clears the way for the introduction of the minimum pricing policy.

Under the plans, the cheapest bottle of wine would be £4.69 and a four-pack of lager would cost at least £3.52.

Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil said:

"We welcome today's favourable opinion from the Court of Session on minimum unit pricing of alcohol.

"We have always believed minimum unit pricing is the right thing to do to tackle Scotland's problematic relationship with alcohol.

"Minimum unit pricing will target cheap alcohol relative to strength that is favoured by hazardous and harmful drinkers, and which contributes to much of the alcohol-related harm we see in Scotland.

"We now look forward to being able to implement minimum unit pricing and making that transformational change in Scotland's relationship with alcohol."

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