Heroin seized from 11-year-old at 'good middle-class primary school' where

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The Independent Online
AN 11-YEAR-OLD boy has been found with pounds 500-worth of heroin at an upmarket primary school in Glasgow, it was revealed yesterday.

The discovery of the 50 heroin "wraps", or packages, comes as a study estimates that 400 children aged 11 and 12 in Scotland have taken the highly addictive drug. About 160 of them are calculated to have used the drug in the past month.

The boy is understood to have been caught with the packages in the playground of Craigton Primary School in South Glasgow. They were hidden inside a shoe. However, the pupil is not believed to have tried to sell the drugs to other children. He and his family were interviewed at a police station. A further 30 pupils were also questioned. A second 11-year-old boy was taken to hospital after tasting a small amount of the substance, but was released without treatment.

The disclosure about such desirable school where parents try reserve a place for their children, reveals the growing influence and grip of drugs on young people, regardless of status and environment.

Craigton Primary serves an area described as "lower middle class" and "comfortable", and parents were deeply shocked at the discovery which happened late on Monday.

One, Anne McKinnon, said: "What's happened is worrying because this is a good school and now all the children are going to be coming home asking about drugs. It's a terrible thing to have happened, but it seems as though it's a one-off."

Lynne Barber, another parent, said: "I moved here because it's a better area and so my son could go to a good school, and now this has happened."

Alistair Watson, a local councillor, added: "The school has a very good reputation and nothing like this has ever happened before. There is not a widespread drug problem in this area. It's a shock that such a substance can find its way into a primary school."

About 100 parents met police and education officers yesterday as officials tried to calm fears in the local community.

Pupils were sent home with a letter saying the incident was isolated at the school, which caters for 207 children aged between five and 12.

An education source said: "Parents from other parts of the city want their children to be educated at the school. It has a good reputation. It's not a stereotypical inner-city drug area with high levels of poverty." Chief Inspector Robin Howe, of Govan Police, added: "It is a first-class school and there are a lot of requests for placement. There have never been any problems there before and I'm very surprised this has happened."

The case adds further weight to the argument - most recently championed by Keith Hellawell, the Government's drugs "tsar" - that children as young as five should be taught about drugs rather than waiting until it is too late.

Glasgow City Council, the local education authority, plans to carry out a survey of all the pupils at its 250 primary and secondary schools to discover the level of drugs awareness. If the study reveals a need, the authority is expected to introduce extra education on drugs.

The scale of the drugs problem among children in Scotland was highlighted in a study published earlier this month which found that one in 10 youngsters had tried illegal drugs, usually cannabis, by the age of 12. Professor McKeganey, of Glasgow University's Centre for Drug Misuse Research, which carried out the study of 1,000 Scottish children said most of those who had taken drugs had got them from home. Professor McKeganey has calculated that 0.6 per cent of children aged 11 and 12 have tried heroin. He believes the use of drugs among the very young is on the increase and usually occurs in families where the substance is already available from parents or older brothers and sisters.

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