A shocking 44 under-18s were arrested for drugs offences in the past three years – including one 13-year-old.
Ten teenagers were arrested for Class A drug offences, figures for Dewsbury and Mirfield released under the Freedom of Information Act show.
In 2010, police made 13 arrests – and this figure rose to 18 in 2011 before falling back to 13 in 2012.
13 youngsters were successfully convicted in the courts after being arrested.
A 13-year-old was arrested for possessing a Class B drug in November 2011. Two 14-year-olds were also detained over the three year period.
Marilyn Shaw set up a support group for bereaved parents who have lost their children to drugs. Her son Marcus died aged 22 of a heroin overdose in 2002.
Mrs Shaw, of Thornhill, said: “The figures are for young people under 18 who have been arrested for drug offences. This would indicate a much higher number using who have not been caught and that saddens me.”
The group Mrs Shaw co-founded, The Luke and Marcus Trust, based in Wellington Street, Dewsbury, campaigns for tougher measures around cannabis, which she believes was a gateway drug for Marcus – a promising young boy who loved sport.
She added: “Drugs do not affect only the user, but their whole family causing pain and heartache, sometimes with the finality of death, following years of heartache in trying to help their addict.
“The fact that usage is still prevalent in towns such as Dewsbury, Batley and other areas is deeply saddening and would indicate deprivation and lack of education.
“I do believe the trend can be reversed but it will take a lot of hard work and good will by service providers, local and national government, teachers and parents and those who care about the future of our young people.”
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Jeffrey of Kirklees CID, said: “I am passionate about reducing the use of drugs, particularly among young people and we are targeting the dealers who peddle in this miserable trade.
“When dealing with very young people involved in drugs, while we do of course address the criminality we do so very much within a safeguarding framework as they are still young people who have fallen into a particular lifestyle through some very poor lifestyle choices.”
Det Chief Insp Jeffrey urged people to contact police with any information which could help stamp out drug crime. Contact Dewsbury CID on 101 or CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.