The times are a changing, and not for the better in England. Recent statistics demonstrate that children who are just nine years old are in drug and alcohol substance abuse facilities. Cocaine, heroin, vodka: the list is endless. These are just a few of their addictions. Perhaps more disturbing still is that the statistics have actually doubled in the past 2 years. According to statistics in 2006, about 10 kids went into rehab per day. These children were 15 years old or younger.
In 2007 and 2008, treatment centers recorded a significant increase from 2006 and 2007. In those years, about three thousand children went in rehab to get clean. There are other far-reaching effects of drug and alcohol addiction at such a young age. These children, when in their twenties, are more at risk for dying from cirrhosis or other kinds of liver complications. How is it that children, who are under legal drinking age, are becoming addicted to coke at the age of nine? Accessibility and encouragement are the primary causes doctors see for these distressing results. Pot is not the huge concern for parents that it was years ago. Children are more likely to need treatment for alcohol addiction than for pot addiction.
However, pot has not escaped the eye of doctors and treatment specialists. It is often the way children become addicted to other substances, far more dangerous than pot. In just one year, nine thousand children went in for addiction treatment for more hardcore drugs than cannabis. Cocaine seemed to be the most popular among these sixteen and under patients. It demonstrated a twenty percent increase from the number reported in 2005 and 2006 regarding drug abuse alone. In fact, children as young as twelve have expressed serious interest in the more dangerous drugs for recreational uses. Teenagers with more troubles than usual are also more at risk to develop drug habits.
With difficulties from puberty, abuse, and school, drugs can be a form of distraction. It is self-medication for other problems such as the trauma from an abusive parent or bipolar disorder. For some, pot offers them a way to just get a good night of sleep, but it often doesn’t stop there. Soon, it becomes a crutch for confidence. Though the drug is no longer demonized in the way it once was with movies like Reefer Madness and other propagandist films that blurred the reality of pot, it still holds danger. Because children do not see pot as a bad a drug, using it is a non-issue, regardless of what kind of problems it is used for. Most children who are in rehab began with pot, hence its infamy as a gateway drug. When combined with a bad childhood, mental illness, and other problems, it is not the mellow toker symbol most children have come to view it as. Further romanticizing of the drug has only exacerbated matters. While the methods for treating addiction are improving, the number still continues to increase with each passing year.