Former Sinn Féin councillor Chris O’Leary said this is something families have contacted him about in the context of his work as a community youth worker.
He described it as a “sign of the times” and said that often news of their child’s activity hits parents like a bolt of lightning.
“They feel it’s safer to give it to the younger ones because they rarely get stopped,” Mr O’Leary said of dealers.
“Some of them are ruthless. A number of parents have called me looking for advice. They are worried that if their child has to make a statement it will escalate things. They begin to ask themselves where they went wrong and it becomes a blame game.”
Mr O’Leary, a youth worker, said he has received numerous calls from extremely concerned parents.
“This is happening and the kids are getting younger,” he said.
“It’s really a sign of the times.
“This isn’t occurring in one niche pocket of the city.”