School children have been caught with the dangerous horse tranquilliser ketamine, The Argus can reveal.

Cocaine and cannabis have also been seized from classrooms across Sussex.

Last night drugs charities warned youngsters they were dicing with death by taking the illegal substances.

And the mother of Sam Nolan, 22, who died of a heroin overdose in January after taking up cannabis as a teenager, warned children to stay away from addictive drugs.

Latest figures obtained by The Argus under the Freedom of Information Act show drugs were seized on 117 occasions from September 2005 to December 2007.

Twice cocaine was found and once teachers discovered ketamine, an anaesthetic which depresses the nervous system and causes halucinations and a temporary loss of bodyily sensation.

In every other case the drug was cannabis.

Harry Shapiro, director of communications for DrugScope, said: "Young people need to know about the risks involved with drugs.

"If you are stoned or high, like being drunk, you could do something you will regret later or have an accident and harm yourself.

"There are also long term problems. Your health will deteriorate, relationships with family and friends could suffer, and it could affect your work."

A spokesman for Addaction. Britain's largest drug and alcohol charity, said spokesman said: "The 'just say no' message historically hasn't worked.

"One of the things we find works is peer mentoring, rather than having someone stand up and talk to students.

People are more likely to listen to a 17-year-old than somebody who is their parent's age."

Four of the children were prosecuted for their drug use and 16 were warned for possessing cannabis.

The remaining 97 people were given police cautions.

Carol Nolan, of Hove, said: "Drugs can be devastating. Sam started off taking cannabis and it may seem harmless at the time because so many people use it.

"Ketamine and cocaine are horrendous drugs. People who take them are risking their lives.

"These drugs are dangerous in their own right but can lead to even harder drugs, like heroin.

"Schoolchildren are far too young to be experimenting with drugs and it could mess up the rest of their lives.

"Drug use also has devastating consequences of the user's families.

"My advice is don't be tempted to try it."

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