Page last updated at 17:31 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Alcohol problems for young people

A "worrying" number of young people are being treated for alcohol-related problems in Sunderland according to a local charity.

Kevan Martin, chief executive of the North East Regional Alcohol Forum, said there had been an increase of patients in their 20s with liver diseases.

People with alcohol-related diseases make up nearly a fifth of admissions into Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Mr Martin said one of the biggest problems is the rise of cheap drinks.

He said he feared there was worse to come as local accident and emergency departments prepare for a huge increase in patients as Christmas approaches.

'More deaths'

He said: "We face very worrying times ahead. At least 11% of admissions in the past year have been down to alcohol and I can see that number increasing.

"Young people are drinking more alcohol than ever. Patients with alcohol-related diseases used to be in their 50s and now they are being treated while they are in their 20s and 30s.

"People can buy cheap booze for as little as 12p a unit, youngsters can afford to buy it which will sadly mean more deaths in the future."

The figures from NHS South of Tyne and Wear also suggested the number of hospital admissions due to alcohol-related injuries and illnesses look set to rise next year.



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