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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 14:09 GMT
Teenage binge drinking 'epidemic'
Teenage drinker
ACPO: 50% of teenage drinkers are getting alcohol from family
A police chief has said it is time to take a "hard look" at the issue of teenage binge drinking which has reached "epidemic proportions".

Ken Jones, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, says data suggests that 50% of young drinkers are obtaining alcohol from their parents.

He also criticised shops on "struggling estates" for selling cheap alcohol.

The Liberal Democrats say there has been a 37% increase in hospital admissions of children since 2001.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Jones condemned the drinks industry for targeting young people.

This is a dangerously escalating public health crisis with often tragic consequences
Norman Lamb
Liberal Democrats

"We need to take a hard look at this and whether we should be really looking to make profits on the back of this sort of misery."

His comments follow the conviction of three teenagers for the murder of Garry Newlove.

Adam Swellings, 19, Stephen Sorton, 17, and Jordan Cunliffe, 16, were convicted at Chester Crown Court and jailed for life for murdering Mr Newlove.

Mr Justice Andrew Smith described the actions of the three as "drunken aggression" that was "part of the night's entertainment".

'Real problem'

Mr Jones said: "Fundamentally this is about how the kids get hold of alcohol.

"We know a good half of them are getting it from the family, so there is a message to parents."

Acpo has gathered data from the Home Office alcohol strategy about who was supplying alcohol to teenagers.

Mr Jones said: "Fifty percent, our research is showing, are getting it from other than over the counter.

"We need, all of us, to actually wake up in this country. We have got a real problem with the way alcohol is marketed, the way it is consumed."

The Liberal Democrats health spokesman, Norman Lamb, said the party had "obtained figures" on the number of children admitted to hospital after binge drinking.

In 2006-7 there were 8,072 cases, up from 5,885 in 2000-1. Mr Lamb said the rise was "shocking".

He added: "This is a dangerously escalating public health crisis with often tragic consequences."

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced that the police will be given tougher powers to confiscate alcohol from under-age drinkers.

The move coincides with a campaign in 175 areas of the country to confiscate alcohol over the half-term holidays.



SEE ALSO
Newlove killers jailed for life
11 Feb 08 |  England

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