Accident & Emergency departments are reporting an increase in the number of stab wounds they are treating at hospitals as a result of County Lines drawing more young people into the drug trade. Often very young children are turning up with life-threatening wounds.
Experts say that young victim are suffering violence on two fronts; they are often attacked by rival gangs and their own drug masters beat them up to intimidate them.
The NHS has published its first official guidance for staff on County Lines which explains how medical staff can identify victims. The number of children admitted to hospital for knife related injuries has increased from 308 in 2015/15 to 573 for 2017/18.