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Cornwall's School Children Battling Addiction

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4:33pm 30th April 2014
(Updated 4:33pm 30th April 2014)

Children as young as thirteen are being sent for specialist drug and alcohol treatment in Cornwall.

Across the country, statistics show primary school pupils are now at risk of becoming addicts.

Experts have seen children as young as four.

Charities are calling for better education in schools.

Alan Hopley is from charity Addaction, he explains why it is happening, he said: "Purely for money aspects, it's far better; it's far cheaper to work with someone younger before it becomes a real addiction issue. From our perspective these are lives that have been damaged, these are lives that have been lost and we want to work with them earlier so we can prevent problems and issues that we have to work with in later life.

"These are very depressing figures but these really are just the tip of the iceberg, we work with so many families and we see this day in and day out in terms of the young people affected by their own drug and alcohol problems, or their parents drug and alcohol problems, we are really committed and passionate about breaking that cycle of young people following into drug and alcohol abuse."

Psychotherapist Jaki Beddingham works with addicts in St Austell, she said: "I think there are several reasons why it's big in Cornwall, and that is because of our high level of unemployment, our low pay scale that we have here and also the very high levels we have of depression in Cornwall and mental health problems.

"The experimenters are most likely to die, so we could have a fourteen or fifteen year old under a huge amount of pressure to achieve, to pass exams or to get that job or lots of pressure from parents or teachers and it is that one take that can kill you."

4:33pm 30th April 2014

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