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Page last updated at 05:17 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 06:17 UK
Rise in drunk under-25s in A&E
By Tulip Mazumdar
Newsbeat health reporter, Leeds General Infirmary

Drunk man in A&E

It's just another Friday night in Accident and Emergency.

An 18-year-old is passed out after being on the 6.99 bottles of wine at one of the city's bars all night.

In the next door cubicle another woman in her early 20s is being sick in a cardboard bowl having had tubes put down her throat to clear her airway.

New statistics revealed to Newsbeat show the number of under-25s ending up in hospital in England after drinking too much has been under-estimated.

Previous official figures for England only showed admissions for obviously alcohol-related conditions, such as alcohol poisoning and liver disease.

For under-25s the figure for those sorts of problems was just over 32,000 in 2006-2007.

But after taking into account things like assaults which happen after too much drinking, or drunken falls in a club, the number shoots up to more than 53,000.

'Carnage'

Doctor Philip Morgan works in the A&E department at Leeds General Infirmary.

Simon and Scott Mills

We have seen quite a few bad alcohol-related injuries. A guy had cut his hand open because he'd been beaten up


He said: "A pretty good word [to describe A&E on a Friday night] would be carnage.

"Drunk people can wander in front of cars, they can get into fights when they wouldn't usually, falls down balconies in clubs or stairs."

Doctors at Leeds General Infirmary say the majority of the 120 or so people on their wards on an average Friday and Saturday night are there because of having had too much alcohol.

These new statistics show around one in five of all admissions for under-25s is because of a drunken fight or a drunken fall.

They come from the North West Public Health Observatory which puts these sorts of figures together for the Department of Health.

Simon, 25, was brought onto the ward after a group of drunk 18-year-olds started a fight with him.

He said: "At the end of the night I went to say goodbye to everyone [then these lads] tried hitting me with a glass, I put my hand up to block it and got cut to hell.

"As I was laid on the floor two of them started stamping on me.

"They'd been drinking all day long, couldn't handle his drink.

"He was an 18-year-old kid. What do you expect?"

'Tip of the iceberg'

Professor Ian Gilmore heads up the Royal College of Physicians and Alcohol Alliance, which advises the government on their alcohol strategy.

He said: "The common effects of alcohol misuse we see are falls, accidents, violence.

"But there's also an increase in the more serious and chronic conditions.

"For example, we're seeing end stage liver disease in some people in their 20s which was unheard of a decade or two ago."

He added: "These latest figures are an attempt to calculate admissions [to hospital] more accurately, but they're still almost certainly an under-estimate."

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