Kids, aged 9, in hospital after drinking alcohol

CHILDREN under 10 are being admitted to city hospitals for alcohol abuse.

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Underage drinkers are risking their safety and health at the time they consume alcohol as well as also their health in later life
Underage drinkers are risking their safety and health at the time they consume alcohol as well as also their health in later life

An Evening Times investigation today reveals hundreds of youngsters received emergency treatment for booze-related illnesses in the past five years.

Alcohol was resp-onsible for more than 750 children being admitted to Greater Glasgow hospitals between 2008 and 2013.

Of those, 152 were aged between 10 and 14.

Perhaps most shocking is that 18 children aged nine or under were taken to emergency wards because of booze.

Scottish Govern-ment ministers have already passed legislation for the minimum pricing of alcohol but a number of legal challenges have been raised.

The plan, which would set a minimum price of 50p per unit, would mean the cheapest bottle of wine at 12.5% alcohol would cost £4.69, a bottle of vodka £13.13, strong cider £7.50 for two litres and strong lager £1.98 a can.

Dr Evelyn Gillan, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scot-land, said: "Tackling underage drinking can be done most effectively by making alcohol less afford-able, less available and less attractive to young people."

As children being admitted to hospital are getting younger the number of under-age boozers has also fallen. Emergency admissions among under-18s have dropped by around 40% since 2008.

More than 200 underage drinkers in Glasgow were admitted to A&E in 2008 after drinking toxic levels of alcohol, compared to 118 in the last year.

Dr Gillan, added: "It's good news that the number of chil-dren being admitted to Glasgow hospitals because of alcohol has been falling in the past few years.

"Drinking at such a young age not only poses an immediate health and safety risk, but also increases the risk of alcohol problems later in life."

The Evening Times previously revealed underage binge drinking has led to a 55% increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital for serious liver disease.

Figures show alcohol-related liver damage is becoming increasingly common in Glasgow among those aged under 30.

Drinking excessive alcohol regularly leads to the liver becoming fatty and inflamed, leading to cirrhosis and the liver becoming incurably scarred.

In the 1970s, cirrhosis claimed about 1200 lives a year in the UK. By 2010 the toll was 5000 - and rising.

In 2010/11, 11 people aged between 20 and 29 were admitted to hospitals in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area for alcohol-related liver disease.

A year later the figure had risen to 15, while in 2012/13 the number of admissions had grown to 17, according to health board figures.

Three of these patients were aged between 20 and 24.

Dr Linda de Caes-tecker, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's director of public health, said: "The numbers of young people admitted to our emergency depart-ments because of alcohol intoxication have mainly been reducing.

"We have been working hard with our partners in local authorities, Police Scotland and local communities to prov-ide as much education and support to young people about the dangers associated with alcohol.

"Alcohol not only has a negative impact on a young person's health.

"There are also the other dangers which go hand-in-hand with being intoxicated from physical injuries caused by falls to becoming victim of assaults."

rebecca.gray@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Health

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