1-YEAR OLDS TREATED FOR ALCOHOL
Children as young as one are being treated in hospital after accidentally drinking alcohol, according to a survey, writes Daniel Martin. University College Hospital London treated the one-year old, while Chelsea & Westminster Hospital reported treating two-year old toddlers. Other children mixed alcohol with ecstasy tablets.
They are among 1,800 children treated in casualty units in London alone for drink-related problems in the past two years. Experts say the true scale might be worse, as many incidents are not reported.
They warn that the rise of deliberate binge drinking among youngsters would leave the NHS struggling to cope with a surge in serious long-term illnesses such as cirrhosis.
Dr Rajiv Jalan, a liver expert from UCL, said that children are more vulnerable than adults because their brains and organs are still developing. "When a child is growing, then even small amounts of alcohol are associated with not just liver damage but also to other organs. And a child exposed that early to alcohol is likely to become alcoholic in future," he explained.
"There has to be a greater sense of parental responsibility for children if we are to see a declien in these dreadful statistics," urged Conservative health spokesman Andrew Lansley.
This summer, a World Health Organisation report found that teenagers in England are among the most likely to have drunk alcohol in the past week, compared with their counterparts in most of the western world. 19% of 13-year old girls and 21% of boys said they had been drunk. Among 15-year olds, 50% of girls and 33% of boys said they had been drunk more than once.
More details here.