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Last Updated: Monday, 30 January 2006, 16:22 GMT
Heroin girl remains in hospital
Accident and emergency - generic
Social workers said the child's welfare is the "priority"
An 11-year-old girl who was taken to hospital last week when she collapsed in school after smoking heroin remains under "close medical observation".

The pupil, who has not been named, slumped at her desk during lessons in Glasgow's east end on Wednesday.

Glasgow City Council issued a statement after its social work officials met to examine the case.

It said it was "a sad and distressing case" which "shocked" staff had never previously encountered.

It stressed that the girl's life was in no immediate danger from the incident.

And it continued: "The health and well-being of the girl is our priority and social work staff are currently putting in place an appropriate care and support package for when she is eventually discharged from hospital."

This to me is a signal that the problem is out of control
Annabel Goldie
Scottish Conservative Party leader

Teachers initially thought the girl, who reportedly admitted smoking the drug for more than two months, had just fallen asleep but called an ambulance when they failed to wake her.

Scottish National Party Holyrood leader Nicola Sturgeon MSP said that this was not an isolated incident.

She said: "More clearly needs to be done to crack down on the dealers who are able to sell hard drugs to young children. We must also ensure that children are educated about the dangers of drug use as quickly and effectively as possible."

The Scottish Tories called for a rethink of government drugs policies.

Party leader Annabel Goldie said: "The executive has simply failed to wake up to the fact that what it's trying to do in relation to drugs abuse in Scotland is not working."

Drugs programmes

"The time has come for a radical rethink of how it's approaching it.

"There has been total confusion about the message the executive has been sending out."

Education Minister Peter Peacock said he believed drugs programmes were having an impact but he was expecting the results of research into their effectiveness.

If it indicated courses needed to be improved, he would take action, he said.

Teaching unions said the case would be a worry to teachers.

David Eaglesham, of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, said: "I don't think any teacher can be equipped for dealing with a tragic situation in which a young person is taking heroin.

I think we really need to look at the training we are giving young people with regards to drugs
John Arthur
Crew 2000

"Teachers are prepared for many situations to do with pupils' behaviour and reactions but they are not prepared for the extremity of this kind of case, nor could they reasonably be expected to be."

John Arthur, manager of drugs support service Crew 2000, said an 11-year-old girl taking heroin was "very unusual".

He said: "Drugs take pain away so I would be very surprised if there weren't other mitigating factors, which have prompted this little girl to take heroin.

"I think we really need to look at the training we are giving young people with regards to drugs.

"It is a widely held misconception that drug dealers target children. Youngsters are more likely to go out looking for it to buy if they want it."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Drugs policy is described as a "guddle"



SEE ALSO:
Girl, 11, treated for heroin use
29 Jan 06 |  Scotland
Drugs fears for rural youngsters
14 Oct 05 |  Scotland
Pupils 'smoked heroin in toilets'
13 Mar 05 |  West Midlands


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