In a joint statement to BBC Wales, the British and Irish Network of Ombudsman and Children’s Commissioners (BINOCC) said: “We are deeply concerned about the impact of class A drugs on children and young people in terms of health and development. The right to health is one of the fundamental human rights of children enshrined in Article 24 and 33 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Governments across the UK have a duty to protect children from both illicit drugs and psychotropic substances.
“We are concerned that young people themselves are increasingly used in distribution of drugs and governments must ensure that children are protected from the illicit production and trafficking of these substances. We need strong education and early intervention programmes, which includes resourced youth services alongside effective treatment programmes for young people. We consider it a national priority to reverse the cuts that these services have faced in recent years. If we take away this first line of defence for our young people we are simply letting them down. It is important that the UK governments have an understanding of the issues within their own jurisdictions so that they can respond to the needs of their young people.
“Young people must not be only seen as the problem, but instead be a key part of the solution. It is fundamental that their voices are heard in policy discussions and their suggestions in programmes for drug abuse prevention are seriously considered.
“The ability to purchase drugs through social media is of major concern. We expect the UK Government to address this comprehensively when it introduces more detailed plans for a new independent digital regulator.”