A REPORT has revealed there were 49 drug and alcohol related incidents involving pupils at St Helens schools and colleges over a ten month period.
The figures, from September 2012 to July 2013, are contained in council document that examines how best to address substance misuse among younger people. They include one incident at a primary school.
The St Helens Drug Incident protocol for education has been in place since 2006. In the report presented to members of the council’s Health and Well Being Board it stated that its aim is to “prevent criminalisation of young people”.
Rather than prosecute youngsters the intention is to refer them to the appropriate services and intervene when necessary.
In the event of an incident a Drug Related Incident form (DRI) is passed to the Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Team.
It covers incidents involving alcohol, illegal drugs, over the counter and prescribed medicines and ‘legal highs’.
Of the 49 reported incidents 29 involved cannabis, 12 alcohol, while seven were classified as “other” and one “unknown”.
During 2012 to 2013, 17 pupils were reported to be intoxicated, up from three the previous year. It also found the number of pupils supplying substances was six, an increase of three in one year.
The statistics also show that 31 boys were involved in the incidents compared to 17 girls. Girls were also more likely to drink or use prescribed drugs whereas boys tended to use cannabis.
The highest number of incidents involved students aged 14 to 16.
As part of the strategy in addressing youth substance abuse a survey is held each year to determine pupils health and well being.
In 2013 3,774 took part. Of those who responded 95 per cent or primary school children and 73 per cent at secondary said they had not drank alcohol in that week.
Nine per cent of secondary schools admitted taking drugs, with seven per cent admitting using cannabis.
The report also examined the number of hospital admissions through alcohol among young people and, while it said that there was a fall in admissions in recent years, it is still more than double the national average.
The authors of the report admitted there was still considerable work to do in tackling youth drinking.
They admitted a link between youngsters from deprived wards. Town centre recorded the highest number of admissions with Eccleston the lowest.
Hospital visits through substance misuse, excluding alcohol, between 2010/2011 and 2012/2013 was 51.