This site is intended for health professionals only

Six-year-old "addicted to cannabis"

Practice nurses are being warned to look out for signs of cannabis addiction in children after an expert claimed some youngsters aged just six are hooked on the drug.

Mike Linnell, from support charity Lifeline Project, said drug taking among children appears to be on the increase in the UK.

He said: "We run eight different young person's services in the country, and two years ago we didn't run any.

"Around 70% of the young people who we treat come to us through the criminal justice service.

"We have treated two or three eight-year-olds in the last couple of years, and one six-year-old."

Drugs counsellors in Greater Manchester said they are regularly dealing with children aged 11 and 12 who are addicted to the drug.

A spokeswoman for the Oldham Alcohol Substance Intervention Service (Oasis) said children aged 14 often arrive at the centre needing help, but added that the organisation has also treated an eight-year-old.

She said: "We are finding that young people are experimenting with cannabis at an earlier age.

"The average age for young people seeking support for problematic cannabis use is around 14, though it's not unusual for 11 and 12-year-olds to now begin experimenting with cannabis."

Lifeline Project

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Take part in our three minute visitors' survey for the chance to win £25 worth of M&S vouchers!