POLICE will offer drugs education to all secondary schools in Dorset after new figures revealed the number of drug offences in county schools.

Dorset Police dealt with six reports of drug related offences in schools between September 2019 and February 2020 – two offences of possession of cannabis, three of supplying controlled drugs and one of attempting to possess a controlled drug. This compared to 11 reported offences during the same period the previous year.

To combat the use of drugs in schools, a Dorset Police spokesman said its Safer Schools and Communities Team (SSCT) will offers drugs education to all secondary schools in Dorset from September.

They said: "In the 2019/20 financial year the SSCT has provided education to 9,824 children and young people and from September 2020 will be offering drugs education to all secondary schools in the country, further enhancing the education they already offer to their students.

"Furthermore, the SSCT will work in partnership, using a series of indicators and data sets, to assist in identifying children, schools and communities that require the support of the team the most and it will prioritise its engagement to most effectively meet this need."

The latest figures come following a recent Freedom of Information Request by leading drug addiction experts UK Addiction Treatment (UKAT).

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 teachers at schools across Devon & Cornwall may not have the time or the knowledge to confidently and correctly educate pupils on the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse.

"That’s why our addiction awareness programme has launched; to take this burden from the teachers and to place it in the hands of our addiction experts.

"We are so passionate about working with schools to collaborate and prevent children from developing life-changing problems with drugs and alcohol. Together, we can make a real difference.

"Misusing drugs and alcohol as a child can cause significant short and long term life and health problems. The child could become physically and psychologically dependent on the substance, which more often than not, leads to taking ‘harder’ substances or consuming more alcohol in order to feel any effect.

"Because of their substance use, the child could miss out on their education, resulting in a lack of employability. They could then turn to crime to fund their lifestyle and to ‘fit in’ with others around them. Taking proactive, preventative measures will go a long way to ensuring this doesn’t happen to the children at school."

A Dorset Police spokesman added the force "deals with school drug possession offences using restorative justice techniques so the young person understands the harm and hurt it causes to those affected by their behaviour.

"Education is also provided to the young person, either by the police or through a drug support agency following a referral by the police."