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Weekly’s shock findings about children and drugs

A local newspaper has uncovered shocking statistics about the number of children that have been treated for alcohol and drugs at a Surrey Hospital.

Surrey Comet reporter Tom Barnes said he was surprised by the results of his Freedom of Information request which showed that 63 children under the age of 14 had been treated for a drug misuse illness at Kingston Hospital in the past 12 months, including a one-year-old baby.

Tom had asked the local NHS five questions about the amount of children that have been treated at the hospital for alcohol and illegal substance related illnesses in the last three years.

He also found that a two-year-old was among 31 under-14s treated for alcohol-related illnesses.

Said Tom: “The results were very surprising. I was expecting the hospital to come back with tales of pre-pubescent teenagers getting their hands on mum and dad’s sherry cabinet. What came back was something altogether much more shocking.

“Whenever you get back an FOI like this your journalistic instincts is to try and find out more details of the cases involved.

“A good FOI often throws up more questions than it answers and in this instance in particular there was so much more I wanted to know about the case.

“You always have to be careful when medical details are involved but I was surprised just how little further information was forthcoming from the hospital.”

A spokeswoman for the Kingston’s Council safeguarding children service responded to the findings by saying it worked closely with the hospital to respond to concerns over neglect.

Ranjit Dhillon of Kingston charity Addiction Support and Care Agency told the newspaper that children who abuse drugs and alcohol are often mimicking behaviour learned from parents.