Possession of illegal drugs among young people is on the rise according to new figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.
The data – collected from 34 police forces across the UK – shows that in the last four years alone, there have been over 2,000 cases where drugs have been seized in schools.
Among the drugs seized were cannabis and Class A substances such as heroin, ecstasy, LSD and crack cocaine.
Cannabis was the most commonly seized drug and accounted for 625 cases since 2011.
Among the highest number of incidents and offences between 2011 and 2014 took place in Hampshire (229), while 144 incidents occurred in schools based in Avon and Somerset.
In the West Midlands 138 cases of school children in possession of drugs were recorded, while the South Wales police reported 92 in Wales.
There were only four incidents that involved school children under the age of 11. The majority of students caught with drugs in school were aged 15 and 16 (241 incidents).
In one shocking case, a 14 year-old student in Manchester was found with over £500 worth of heroin.
In light of these figures, Chris Keates, the general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union said:
“Any incident of drugs on school premises is worrying as it will often only be the tip of the iceberg of what young people are encountering on the streets.
“Teachers and school leaders are always alert to the potential for young people being involved in drug or alcohol abuse.”
However, Keates was quick to add that recent government cuts have made it difficult for schools to fund programmes and specialist support to educate students about the dangers of drug abuse.
This, he fears, could make it harder for schools to help those who are exposed to drugs from a young age, and could quite possibly go on to develop harmful addictions.