Childhood Christmas drinking concern

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MORE and more youngsters are arriving in hospital suffering the effects of alcohol abuse.

Emergency departments in public hospitals of Alicante province report dealing with around 340 underage children with serious health problems caused from drinking alcohol, with many being admitted unconscious or in a coma. In extreme cases, drinking can lead to death, as was the case with a young girl aged just 12 years old who died a few weeks ago in Madrid as a result of alcohol intake. The case highlighted the worrying trend of alcohol abuse amongst minors.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, the average age of children treated in emergency departments for alcohol abuse is 13 years. More than half of the cases are boys.

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Tougher action must be taken in targeting those who are selling alcohol to minors in a bid to reduce such cases. That’s the belief of Francisco Juan, director of the AEPA Foundation, which manages the day centres of addictive behaviours in Valencia: “Maybe if they start to apply heavy fines, people will think twice before doing so. There must be a commitment to society, as there is with other issues such as tobacco.” 

He added: “Many supermarkets at Christmas place bottles of alcohol placed in more visible places and that’s encouraging consumption for both teens and those who are trying to stop drinking.”

Experts remind of the serious potential damage drinking can do to minors as the brain is not yet fully developed.

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