Schoolchildren are getting into a worrying cycle of using cannabis and energy drinks, a charity has claimed.

Swanswell, a national drug and alcohol recovery charity, claims youngsters are relying on cannabis to come down from the high they experience from drinks with high levels of sugar and caffeine. The class B drug can have a calming effect on users but it can also make it difficult for young people to concentrate and focus on school work.

Teenagers then get trapped in an unhealthy cycle as they drink more energy drinks to pick them up again and help them function after taking cannabis.

Swanswell chief executive Debbie Bannigan said: “We’ve even seen examples in our service of children taking cannabis to offset up to 800mg of caffeine a day.”

But the charity are not just concerned about young people using cannabis. The organisation is worried about the impact highly-caffeinated energy drinks are having on young people and has called for more research to be done into the risks.

Ms Bannigan said: “Energy drinks can affect performance at school and lead to risky behaviour. Unlike other countries there’s no official guidance on caffeine consumption for children in the UK.

“That’s why we’d like the Government to commission independent research into the long-term health impact of energy drinks. This would enable them to publish evidence-based guidelines on the maximum amount of caffeine it’s safe for children to drink.”

Caffeine is causing poor behaviour in school

A survey carried out by teaching union NASUWT found 13% of teachers believed caffeine and energy drinks were fuelling bad behaviour in school.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “For the last two years in our survey teachers have registered concern about the contribution of high energy drinks to poor pupil behaviour as a result of consuming excessive quantities of these drinks. These drinks are popular among young people who often think they are just another soft drink.”

Parents who are worried about their teenager’s behaviour and performance at school may want to look at the number of energy drinks they are consuming on a regular basis. Many young people are unaware of the risks involved and their habit may even lead to a more serious substance misuse problem if they turn to cannabis to calm themselves down.

If you are concerned that your child may already have taken illegal drugs, there are a number of drugs tests available which will allow you to find out for sure.

Hair strand drug testing will look at your child’s drug consumption over a period of months so you can find out exactly what substances they have taken. The test works by detecting metabolites from drugs which are left behind in the hair shaft long after the substances have left their system.

If you’re concerned your teenage may have taken drugs recently, you can order a home drug testing kit which will give you an accurate result in just five minutes. The tamper-proof urine screening set will check for the presence of nine drugs including cannabis, cocaine and opiates like heroin.

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