Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Children Turning to Drug-Dealing

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Children Turning to Drug-Dealing

Article excerpt

Drug-abusing youngsters are pushing cocaine, heroin and cannabis on Tyneside.

Northumbria Police has made 2,370 arrests of under-17s for drugs offences over the past three years.

Young people have been arrested on suspicion of supplying class-A drugs, possession and even for growing their own cannabis supplies.

Figures obtained by the Chronicle under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that during the past three years, 68 youngsters between 11 and 17 have been arrested for possession with intent to supply amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, heroin and drugs such as Ecstasy.

In the past 12 months one person under 17 has even been arrested for supplying heroin.

The majority of the incidents relate to possession of cannabis, and arrests for this have increased year on year.

And more than 900 of the youngsters arrested over the three-year period were between 13 and 15.

Harry Shapiro of drugs charity Drugscope said: "The most important part of this problem is getting help for the young people who are involved.

"Some of them probably need to go through the criminal justice system and that works, but for a lot of young people we need to look to the community band of punishment to really sort this problem out."

And Maggie Hunt, chief executive for Connexions Tyne & Wear, said: "Drugs can ruin lives and I would say to any young person involved that they don't have to stay involved. They can find a way out.

"If they ask for help, someone will be on hand to give it."

The maximum sentence for an under-18 convicted with possessing class-A drugs with intent to supply is life imprisonment. Those simply found guilty of possession can be jailed for seven years.

Det Insp Chris Sharman, Northumbria Police's drugs co-ordinator, said: "Harm caused by illegal drugs include health, social and economic consequences for individuals and communities. …

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