Stanthorpe Police say catching drug offenders as young as 12 is not “uncommon”.
Stanthorpe Police say catching drug offenders as young as 12 is not “uncommon”.

Drug charges at 12: Police reveal sad, stark reality

IT is not "uncommon" for kids as young as 12 to be charged over dangerous drugs.

That's the stark reality according to Stanthorpe Acting Senior Sergean Shane Gleeson.

His comments come after it was reported a 12-year-old boy was charged with possessing drug paraphernalia at a Harris St address last Thursday.

"While it is unusual for such a young offender to be dealt with for such an offence, it is not uncommon," Senior Sergeant Gleeson said.

"There is a reason that such substances are classed as 'Dangerous Drugs' and they are considered so, for young and old alike.

"While generally, cannabis is considered by many to be a 'soft' gateway drug, studies show that if users have a propensity to mental health issues, cannabis will drastically increase the likelihood of onset of those issues.

"Abuse of drugs by those with young, still developing brains, will no doubt lead to a lifetime of issues," Sen Sgt Gleeson said.

The boy has been dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.

The charges have elicited strong reactions from the community on social media.

"Unfortunately it is the same everywhere. It cannot be policed," Rob Cochrane commented.

"Our judicial system is too lenient on criminals."

Some commenters said it pointed to a changing landscape in small communities, such as Stanthorpe.

"Stanthorpe is not what it used to be sadly," Jamie Zamprogno said.

"Don't get me wrong, it's still a brilliant little town with a lot of good people in it, but it's very sad that there are kids as young as 12 doing drugs."

Six other people were charged over drug offences in the past week.

Two 25-year-old Stanthorpe men were charged under the Explosives Act 1999, and with possessing drugs and tainted property.

A 29-year-old Stanthorpe man and a 20-year-old Warwick woman were allegedly found in possession of drug paraphernalia on Friday morning at Wolfram St.

A 26-year-old Stanthorpe man was charged with the possession or use of dangerous drugs and one count of possessing weapons at Symes St in Stanthorpe on Friday.

Finally, a 27-year-old Brisbane man was charged with possessing or using a dangerous drug on the New England Highway near Dalveen at around 3.30pm on Friday.

Other offences catch police attention

OVER the past week, 18 traffic tickets have been handed out to rule breakers.

The offences range from speeding, driving an unregistered vehicle, to disobeying 'no right turn' road rules.

"Expect to see a saturation of the highways and byways with police as we enter the school holidays," sen Sgt Gleeson said.

"Whether it be high volumes of traffic, road closures, emergency situations … expect and plan for delays, take regular breaks, turn up the A/C, put on some good music and enjoy the drive. "No one leaves home thinking they're going to be a statistic."