Big Rise In Child Drug Treatments

The number of children being treated for drug or alcohol abuse in Northern Ireland has more than trebled in the past two years.

Figures from the Department of Health show that in March 2005, 271 under-18s were receiving treatment for substance abuse.

In March this year, some 847 young people were on treatment programmes.

The statistics show that, in total, 5,583 people were either being treated for drug or alcohol misuse in March.

This represents a rise of 10% on the 2005 figure of 5,064.

The figures have been compiled by the Drug and Alcohol Information and Research Unit, within the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

They also revealed that 62% of those in programmes on 1 March were being treated for drink-related problems, 20% for drug abuse and the remainder were being treated for both drink and drug problems.

Two thirds of those people were male. Some 15% of those being treated were children.

It was the second census of Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services in Northern Ireland to be carried out by the department.