Teenagers are buying Xanax drugs on social media to help them manage examination anxiety, drugs addiction experts have said. Teenagers as young as 13 years old were purchasing Xanax pills online. A BBC investigation also found drugs being advertised on Facebook and Instagram.
Experts have warned that school grammar pupils are buying and taking the drugs on daily basis as they are stressed a lot by their work at school. Investigative journalists were able to successfully buy substances from online dealers who said the substances were diazepam and Xanax.
The two social media platforms have said that buying and selling of drugs was not acceptable at all, and that the involved accounts had already been deleted.
“I am increasingly working with able and gifted children who are using it for self-medication,” said Coles Nail, who works for a children charity in south-east and Canterbury. “The use is significantly higher in high pressure environments and in grammar school. The drug is used mostly as a party pill. However, I am seeing a current trend where the pill is being used in high-pressure environments. Children are taking a quarter of a bar to alleviate the stress of a school day,” Nail told the Daily Telegraph.
Apart from social media, some students may even resort to buying illegal drugs on dark web marketplaces. He explained that children using the Xanax pills were doing it outside traditional drug cohorts for recreation purposes. Navigation on the dark web requires computer skills and can only be possible through a special “Tor browser” which can be downloaded as it offers complete anonymity.
“Don’t forget that these are school children who are buying substances from illicit online marketplaces that require a higher degree of technical expertise and knowledge. However, that particular motivation behind the demand of these drugs is to help cope with examination pressure,” Mr. Nail added.
“There is terrible amounts of pressure on these school teenagers to achieve, and in Kent we are trying to talk to grammar school pupils as there is awful pressure to join the 6th form which requires much higher grades at GCSE 9th year—most of the teenagers using there drugs are in their ninth year already.
According to a Home Office spokesman, internet providers were asked to work closely with law enforcers to crackdown UK-based websites found guilty of committing such offences. Social media platforms are also expected to put robust measures in place to act promptly in deleting user accounts and content which fail to comply with the policies.
In previous research reports, figures have shown that school teenagers feel trapped beneath an increased anxiety to pass their examinations at school, making them cut off from their social lives even.
University of Manchester last year reported that suicide amongst younger students rose by a big margin shortly before examinations. Following the report, charities advised that young schoolers needed more help and attention with their well being.
The perception that the job market in the outside world is rough has also contributed to the high number of teens seeking counselling. This is according to the NSPCC which warned on the trend after it had noticed an 11 percent increase in the number of counselling sessions for school teenagers struggling with stress as a result of their school work and examinations.