GIRLS as young as 13 have been given controversial contraceptive implants that can make them infertile for up to three years.
Figures obtained by Scotland on Sunday reveal that at least 100 under 16-year-olds have been fitted with the matchstick sized hormone implants at NHS family planning clinics in the past year.
The implants have sparked concerns about the long-term health implications for adolescents. Campaigners also fear they could encourage casual underage sex, increasing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
Doctors admit the long-term side-effects of the implants, known as Implanon, are still largely unknown, and teenagers could be especially vulnerable as their bodies are still maturing. But health officials claim GPs will have given hundreds more youngsters the long-acting contraceptive, which is placed under the skin on the woman’s arm and left in place for three years.
Dr James McLay, a clinical pharmacologist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary said: "Only a quarter of all contraception is dispensed by family planning clinics, which means the figures for GPs could be four or five times higher."
A spokesman for the Scottish Catholic Church said: "Society is failing its young if it thinks that contraceptive implants are progress. Indoctrinating young people into the ‘contraception culture’ is obviously counter-productive."