Dozens of children have been admitted to Tayside’s A&E departments for drug overdoses.
An investigation has found that kids as young as 10 – but potentially even younger – have ingested substances including ecstasy, amphetamines, methadone and so-called legal highs in the last four years.
In 2018 a minimum of 24 children have received treatment for overdosing on drugs, at least eight of them – aged between 11 and 15 – because they had taken the substances “recreationally”.
At least one child aged between one and 10 was taken to A&E for an opiate overdose. Several kids have also been treated for overdosing on multiple drugs.
Over the last four years, at least 114 children have had treatment in A&E for taking drugs.
Councillor Georgia Cruickshank, spokeswoman for children and families services on the opposition Labour group at Dundee City Council, said: “The statistics are appalling and it is a sad indictment of the state of affairs of today’s society. It really upsets me.
“It is an epidemic that we don’t appear to be getting to grips with. I campaigned hard to get legal highs out of the shops and was successful in that. Unless we get to grips with the black market, there is very little hope of reducing these.”
Dr Michael Johnston, consultant in emergency medicine at NHS Tayside, said: “We see a very small number of cases of young children presenting at A&E suffering from the effects of drug ingestion. In the vast majority of cases, the drugs have been consumed accidentally.
“The consequences of small children ingesting drugs can be very serious and parents should ensure that all medication is safely and securely stored out of the reach of children.
“There is no safe way to take drugs recreationally and the only way for people to ensure they don’t come to harm from drugs is avoid using them.”