Autistic teens targeted by drug gangs

Teenagers with autism are being targeted by gangs running county lines drugs operations.

That’s the view of youth worker Paul McKenzie, who has encountered “countless” examples of special needs teens recruited by older dealers.

McKenzie says autistic youngsters’ desire for friendship makes them easy prey.

McKenzie, 52, said: “We are seeing more and more children with special needs, especially autism, being targeted by county lines gangs because they don’t fully understand the implications.”

He said the manipulation is a form of mate crime that “boils down to a basic human need” for friendship.

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