smoking young person 180x120A leading drugs expert says young cannabis users are being let down because there is too much focus on helping people hooked on class A substances.

Doctor Adam Winstock, founder of the Global Drug Survey, says the younger the user the more likely they are to have problems in the future.

Dr Winstock believes in the last 20 years services have focused too heavily on treating heroin and crack cocaine addicts "because they're the people the government sees as causing crime and disruption".

"Some people become violent and many young people can't sleep and get very irritable. I think people get confused with physical withdrawal symptoms and equating those to being addicted.

"Addiction for me is a loss of control and when you stop you feel uncomfortable. It can make you feel miserable, you can't sleep, you lose your appetite or it can be very physical as it is with heroin or alcohol.

"About 10% of people who use cannabis are dependent and two-thirds of those people, when they stop, will experience withdrawal symptoms. They last seven to 10 days for most people. You are more likely to run into those problems if you start using early."

Difficult transition to adult services
In 2005 the number of 18 to 24-year-olds in England coming forward for treatment was 3,328. In 2013/14 that figure had risen to 4,997 and now accounts for nearly half of all new cases.

Cannabis use is falling across the UK but the number of people getting help with addiction is rising.

There are lots of departments responsible for drug addiction services across the UK. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and England have separate systems.

Public Health England says waiting times are low for people looking for help with addiction,

A spokeswoman said: "Young people moving from young to adult services can be a really difficult transition; however services should be sensitive to the age and needs of the people they're working with and have the right arrangements in place to accommodate these."

Cannabis is a class B drug and carries a maximum prison sentence of five years for possession and up to 14 years for supply and production. You can also receive an unlimited fine for possession, supply or production.

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