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Shocking teen drinking: 'They could be knocked down or aspirate in their own vomit'

One was under the age of 13.
Mar 2nd 2015, 6:33 PM 18,428 21

OVER 100 CHILDREN under the age of 17 were treated for acute alcohol intoxication, or alcohol poisoning, in Temple Street Children’s Hospital over the last three years.

Figures released by Temple Street Children’s University Hospital show that they saw 22 under-16s presented last year, with one as young as 12. Five in the last three years were as young as 12 and one was 11.

2014 saw 16 girls under the age of 16 need treatment after drinking, compared to six boys. Over 70 of the overall figure of 114 since 2012 were girls.

Graph

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, consultant paediatrician Dr Alf Nicholson said that the number is concerning.

“We’re talking about under 16-year-olds presenting to a children’s hospital for serious alcohol poisoning.

“It’s a shocking statistic that every week or two, we have a child presenting. The real risk is that they could be knocked down, could aspirate their own vomit, they could drop their blood sugar.”

He said that other hospitals were seeing similar results and that many parents don’t know that their children are drinking.

He said that the availability of alcohol was a major issue.

“One of the things that is associated with the drink culture in young people is the ready and relatively cheap availability of alcohol.

“A naggin of vodka is around €6 and that’s a lot of alcohol for a pre-teen.”

Some children, he added, are coming back to the hospital, but the majority are one-off cases.

Read: “I think they should stay away” – Minister on St Patrick’s Day drunkeness

Read: Make no mistake – the drinks industry cares about sales, not you

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Paul Hosford

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