EDUCATION bosses in East Lothian are to bring in specialist workers to help children as young as 12 cope with their drug use.
Under a pilot scheme, pupils aged from 12-19 will be offered therapeutic and practical support to halt their use of illegal substances.
Those who admit taking drugs will be helped to avoid developing an addiction to stronger narcotics such as heroin and cocaine while those identified as being at risk of getting hooked will receive additional help.
Parents and carers will be able to access advice services aimed at helping them manage problem behaviours
An advertisement seeking an organisation to run the pilot project states: “East Lothian Council requires a provider for a Pilot Support Service which will be provided to people aged 12-19 years, attending East Lothian Council high schools, with an emphasis on those who are using or at risk of using drugs and alcohol.”
The tender document adds that interventions will target ‘young people for whom substance use is becoming or is already harmful to themselves and others’.
The stated aims of the project are “to identify young people whose substance use and resulting behaviour is causing concern” and also “to prevent a young person’s substance use becoming problematic”.
Details of the project emerged after the number of drug-related fatalities in Scotland rose to a record 1,18.
Dr Ian Oliver, A United Nations drugs consultant and former Grampian Police chief constable, said the East Lothian project was needed.
He said: “If this initiative is done properly and it’s properly researched then it is to be commended. It is great – I am in favour of drug education.”
A council spokesperson confirmed the pilot scheme plan and said: “East Lothian Council Children’s Services and East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership have just started the procurement process for this project and it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment at the moment.”