Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 13:11 UK

Teenage alcohol abuse 'on rise'

The number of young people going to Leicestershire hospitals with alcohol-related injuries has doubled in five years, it has been revealed.

Figures from the Department for Children, Schools and Families show a 109% rise in attendance of under-18s.

Simon Mardel, an accident and emergency consultant at Leicester Royal Infirmary, said he had seen an increase across all age groups.

He said hospital staff saw alcohol-related injuries throughout the week.

Dr Mardel said assaults, accidents, social and criminal problems often stemmed from alcohol abuse because people behaved so differently after drinking.

We are storing up problems for the future. There is going to be a knock-on effect of this.
Dr Simon Mardel, Leicester Royal Infirmary

Young people were much more at risk from the effects of alcohol poisoning such as unconsciousness, sickness and choking on their own vomit, Dr Mardel explained.

In addition to the physical effects on the individual and the strain it puts on A&E departments, he believes many other units in the hospital are affected.

He said: "We are storing up problems for the future. There is going to be a knock-on effect of this."

Dr Mardel believes marketing and the low prices of alcohol played a part in the rising figures.

Jill Le Page, from Leicestershire Community Projects Trust, agreed with Dr Mardel's observation but said parents needed to be vigilant about what their children were doing and had a responsibility to lead by example.

"It is important that parents understand the message that they give young people about their own drinking," he said.

"For example, you might come home after a busy, tiring day and have a glass of wine to relax and unwind. The young person is seeing that and using it as their own coping strategy."

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