According to Public Health England, the number of children treated for narcotics addiction has doubled to over 300 in one year.
The drug Xanax and its copies were the biggest increase – from eight children treated in 2016-2017 to 53 in 2017/18.
Rescue services across the country have also reported a growing problem.
In 2017 and 1818, more than 15,500 children had help with substance abuse, 88% with cannabis.
The total number of patients treated was 5% lower than in the previous year.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is the brand name for the drug alprazolam, a benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety or panic attacks. However, many of the pills taken by children are copies bought online without their strength being displayed or being falsified.
What are the effects of benzodiazepines?
The psychiatrist of the UK addiction treatment group, dr. Durrani says, "Benzos works by literally slowing down the functions of the brain and acting as a leveler in times of stress, over-excitement or anxiety.
"Serious side effects can occur, including confused words or even total failures.
"We're seeing more and more people admitting after becoming addicted to Benzos.
"In most cases, their abuse was due to the fact that the drug was used relaxing at parties and mixed with alcohol, which is a toxic combination."
What do the rescue services say?
The North East Ambulance Service, which provided the most comprehensive information on a BBC freedom of information request to six rescue services, said it had participated in 240 abuses of Xanax abuse by children in 2017, two of them for eleven years Olds.
What about Public Health England?
Dr Rosanna O & Connor, Director for Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco, says: "Although fewer children under the age of 18 are being asked to help with drug and alcohol problems, this is still a significant problem and the latest data shows that that more and more young people need to treat benzodiazepines.
"However, there is limited evidence and data on these drugs so we do not have a clear understanding of the changes in the application.
"Benzodiazepines are risky when taken without medical supervision, and mixing with alcohol or other medicines increases the risk of injury, especially if mixed with other sedatives."
What about other addictions?
The PHE report also says:
- The number of children treated for ecstasy addiction increased by 18% over the same period
- 46% of the 15,583 children being treated for substance abuse are helped with alcohol problems