Over 200 children treated for substance abuse in Lincolnshire

The number of under 18s treated for substance misuse in Lincolnshire has risen, according to new data.

Figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request by The Lincolnite reveal that 233 under 18s were treated for substance abuse in the county in 2013-2014, the latest statistics that Public Health England have recorded.

The number treated was up 15 on 2012-2013, where 218 children received medical support.

Of the 233 cases, 142 were treated for cannabis misuse, 43 for alcohol abuse and 48 for the use of other substances. Nearly 100 of these were for children under the age of 16.

For the first time, novel psychoactive substances (NPS) or so called ‘legal highs’ were included in the figures, with eight teenagers in Lincolnshire receiving specialist treatment.

In February this year, Lincoln became the first city in the UK to ban the use of legal highs after the city council decided that it needed to act proactively to address the problem.

Nine children were also given support for amphetamine abuse and eight were treated for misuse of solvents.

Fewer than five were treated for heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.

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Rosanna O’Connor, Director of the Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco Division at Public Health England said: “Any substance misuse by a young person is cause for concern, recent figures show specialist treatment services are working well, however there is no room for complacency.

“We’ve seen the highest number of young people receiving help for cannabis use since records began, and alcohol is still a major problem with research showing that British children are more likely to get drunk than children in most other European countries.

“Young people’s substance misuse rarely happens in isolation from other problems such as difficulties in school or at home, so it’s vitally important that services continue to work together to ensure all these needs are met.

“Investing in today’s vulnerable children is the only way to stop their drug and alcohol problems from becoming entrenched as adults, and we all have a responsibility to give them the best possible chance in life to succeed.

“Public Health England is committed to ensuring this remains a priority for all the different services these young people need.”