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Northern Ireland - Child drug offences on rise

The number of schoolchildren dealing drugs in Northern Ireland has risen, with some as young as 11 dealing class A drugs.

New figures reveal that more than 200 under-18s were arrested for drug-related offences in the last financial year, an increase from the previous year when 136 under-18s were arrested for possession and 44 for supply.

The youngest dealer was 11 years old, and was arrested for supplying cocaine, while the youngest person arrested for a possession-only offence was a 12-year-old with cannabis.

Jim Weir of the Forum for Action on Substance Abuse (FASA) said that drugs charities were concerned about substance misuse in young children.

"Last year we started to work with pupils in P5 (aged nine to 10) after we became aware that 11-year-olds were using drugs," he said. "We want to get in there before they get to the age where they are beginning to use." MR.

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