Monday, December 4, 2000 9:19 PM EST

Street kids younger, drugs harder

VANCOUVER — Vancouver's Downtown Eastside youth workers say the kids on the skids are getting younger, there are more of them, and the drugs they are doing are harder.

'kids are walking death' Deb Mearns says the kids on the streets are "walking death". "They are 13 years old, weigh 89 pounds, refuse any kind of care".

She says the problem is getting worse as hundreds of 12, 13 and 14 year old children leave the suburbs to head for Vancouver's mean streets to start a life of prostitution and hard-core drug use.

Mearns warns that there is little help available for the kids. She adds government must respond now with detox and rehab facilities.

The Youth worker for "Save The Children Canada" says in some parts of Canada 90% of child and teen prostitutes are Aboriginal. On Vancouver's kiddie stroll about 40% have a First Nations background.

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Created: December 6, 2000
Last modified: January 21, 2001
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