Scores of local children have been excluded from school due to “substance misuse” since 2021, Edinburgh Council has revealed.
A response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request published on the Council’s website shows that 49 children aged 9-16 were sent home by their schools for drugs between 2021 and 2023.
The Scottish Government recently called on Westminster to decriminalise possession of all drugs for personal use, and since 2021 has waived prosecution of people caught with dangerous Class A drugs like heroin.
According to the FOI response, the number of children excluded from school after being found under the influence of, or in possession of, “illegal substances/drugs” more than doubled between 2019-21 and 2021-23.
The Council stated that information on the types of substances involved or recovered “is not held”, and said it could not comment on police involvement due to the prohibitive cost of gathering such information.
The Scottish Conservatives education spokesman Liam Kerr described the revelation that children as young as nine should be excluded from school for drug use as “absolutely shocking”.
Under new Scottish Government proposals, addicts would officially no longer be criminalised for possessing Class A drugs such as cocaine or heroin unless they intend to supply it to others.
And drug consumption rooms would also be introduced, where addicts could inject themselves without fear of arrest.
The policies, which repeat calls made by the Scottish Government’s Drugs Deaths Taskforce in 2021, urge the UK Government to devolve powers on drugs legislation or change the law itself.
The latest annual figures from National Records of Scotland show that there were 1,330 drug-related deaths in 2021 — the second highest annual total on record, and the worst in Europe.