THE number of drug dealing and possession offences which happened within schools across South Yorkshire has dramatically increased, new data shows.
Figures provided by South Yorkshire Police in a Freedom of Information request reveal officers were called to schools 65 times for drug offences between 2017 and 2019.
Police were alerted 30 times in 2019 after pupils were caught with cannabis — they were alerted just once in 2017.
Officers also attended schools three times when teachers alerted police to drug dealing/smuggling on the premises during 2019.
The data also shows that police were called for pupils in possession of class A drugs such as cocaine, heroin and MDMA (ecstasy) on four occasions in 2019. There zero incidents of this type in 2017.
Latest figures from NHS England shows that 38 per cent of pupils aged 11-15 years old were offered drugs in 2018.
Other statistics from the same body shows 29 per cent of 15 year olds who were offered Class A drugs took them.
UK Addiction Treatment Centre (UKAT) has started an addiction education programme, a free workshop designed to be accessed by pupils on the dangers of drug misuse and peer pressure.
Nuno Albuquerque, Treatment Lead at UKAT said: “Our investigation has unearthed every parents worst nightmare; that some children are exposed to and involved in drugs whilst at school; a place they thought they'd be safe at.
“It’s important to stress the power of preventative action and interactive education when it comes to substances, but schools have lost vital, on-site support roles through welfare budget cuts.
“Now, not only are they expected to teach, but to wear multiple hats and spin multiple plates in order to keep the pupils safe. This approach is unstainable and unfair.”
Details on the UKAT Addiction Education Programme can be found here: www.ukat.co.uk/education-programme/v34/).
Rotherham Council has been approached for comment on its policy on drug issues in schools.