New Report by Public Health England indicates the rise of 'generation Xanax'.
The number of children being treated for addiction to tranquillisers has doubled, according to a report by Public Health England.
The drug Xanax accounted for the most rapid rise, with as many as 53 children receiving treatment for Xanax addiction in 2017-8, compared with just 8 the year before.
Xanax is a benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety or panic attacks.
It has been reported that many of the pills taken by children are copies that have been bought online, with no indication of how strong they are or whether they have been mixed with other harmful substances.
Xanax can have some very serious side effects. It works by slowing down the functions of the brain and acting as a leveller in times of high stress and anxiety.
Some serious side effects of taking Xanax include slurred speech, memory problems and even complete black outs.
In the report by Public Health England, two thirds of the young people seeking help for substance abuse were male, while three-quarters were between the ages of 15-19, with figures rising to more than 300.
The report also stated, however, that despite more boys seeking help for substance abuse, girls are more likely to directly disclose a mental health issue than boys.
While 37 per cent of girls receiving treatment for substance addiction reported a mental health issue, only 22 per cent of boys did.
The details released by Public Health England illustrate a worrying trend of anxiety and mental health problems amongst young people.
Latest NHS figures suggest one in eight children has a mental health disorder, amid concerns of an ‘epidemic of anxiety’.
Ambulance services across England have also reported a growing problem, stating that in 2017 they had received 240 call outs for Xanax abuse by children, two of which were for children aged just 11 years old.
Rosanna O’Connor, director for drugs, alcohol and tobacco at Public Health England, called on professionals to ‘be alert’ to potential signs of drug misuse or dependence among young people.