Children in England and Wales have committed tens of thousands of drug crimes in less than a decade, figures show.

Prohibition critics have warned that giving a child a criminal record for drug offences can have a detrimental effect on their future.

But the Government said it has no plans to change law the around drug possession, adding that doing so would not eradicate the crime.

Youngsters across England and Wales have been cautioned or convicted over drugs nearly 48,000 times since records began in 2013-14, figures from the Ministry of Justice show.

Criminalising children for drug offences hinders their life chances and disrupts their education and employment outcomes

Around 4,000 crimes were logged during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, despite national lockdowns and other measures contributing to a significant fall in crime rates among both young people and adults.

Child drug crime accounted for 10.3% of the total 38,500 proven offences involving under-18s in 2020-21, the highest proportion on record, despite a 58% drop in youth-related crimes since 2013-14.

Campaigners calling for urgent reform to drug laws say such punishments could have lifelong consequences.

Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst at the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, said the data was a “depressing reflection on the failure of UK drug policy”, and added that nobody should be criminalised for personal drug use.

He said the UK’s prohibitionist approach had not eliminated drugs from communities but had instead given the control of drug markets to organised criminals.

Read the full article from the Evening Standard below:

Source: Drug crime involving children highest proportion on record

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