Kids of 12 taking drugs

MORE than one in four 12 to 15 year olds in North Somerset has tried drugs in the last four weeks, according to a survey carried out by the schools watchdog.

MORE than one in four 12 to 15 year olds in North Somerset has tried drugs in the last four weeks, according to a survey carried out by the schools watchdog.

The Ofsted questionnaire results show how the illegal substances listed include cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, heroin, speed, magic mushrooms, cannabis and solvents.

The survey, called Tellus2, was carried out among pupils in years eight and 10 and some questions were asked to youngsters in year six in primary schools.

The results also show that more than a quarter of all 10 to 15-year-olds have been drunk at least once in the last four weeks and half have tried an alcoholic drink.


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Peter Walker, director for the addiction recovery agency (ARA), which has help centres across the South West, said: "Although most of our services are for people aged 18 and over we do see people coming to us who have abused drugs and alcohol from a young age.

"There are a number of things that can be done to help resolve this.

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"The first thing is to give the youngsters the right information as soon as possible. The culture we are in at the moment does not tell young people the risk alcohol poses.

"It is one of the greatest health issues we currently face.

"In schools we need to make sure there is emotional as well as physical care and make sure there are counselling services where people are qualified to give advice on drugs and alcohol."

The survey also shows more than one in four youngsters, aged 10 to 15, say they have been bullied at least a couple of times in the last four weeks and nearly a third say their school does not deal with the issue very well. Nearly half said their biggest concern was exams, closely followed by worries over friendships.

Youngsters in years eight and 10 were asked who they would turn to if they had a problem at home and could not talk to their mum, dad or step parent. Near 80 per cent said their friends, compared to 25 per cent who said a sibling and 28 per cent who said another family member.

Other key findings included:

* 87 per cent of 10-15 year olds said they considered themselves to be very healthy or quite healthy.

* 30 per cent of 10-15 year olds ate five or more pieces of fruit or vegetables a day.

* 36 per cent of year eight and 10 pupils said they needed better information on sex and relationships, while 30 per cent said they needed more advice on drugs use.

* 79 per cent of year eight and 10 pupils said the advice they had received on eating healthy food was 'good enough'.

* 82 per cent of 10-15 year olds said they felt very or quite safe around their local area.

* 81 per cent of 10-15 year olds said more fun or interesting lessons might help them to do better in school, while 42 per cent listed more help from teachers as a suggestion.

* 61 per cent of year eight and 10 pupils said their views on decisions about the local area were listened to 'not much' or 'not at all'.

* 49 per cent of year eight and 10 pupils said their views on the running of their schools were listened to a great deal or a fair amount.

* 52 per cent of 10-15 year olds said more or better shops would make the area a better place to live in.

The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) is a government agency in charge of inspecting and regulating care for children and young people and education and training for people of all ages.

It carried out the Tellus2 survey nationally by selecting a sample of schools in each local authority area.

If any young person needs advice on drug or alcohol addiction they can call ARA on 01934 415376.

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