Rise in childhood alcohol illness

AN INCREASING number of children in Suffolk are ending up in hospital for alcohol-related illnesses including mental disorders, poisoning and liver disease.

AN INCREASING number of children in Suffolk are ending up in hospital for alcohol-related illnesses including mental disorders, poisoning and liver disease.

New government figures show that the number of under 18s in the region seeking treatment for alcohol-related health problems has jumped by 11.7 per cent between 1997/98 and 2005/06.

Meanwhile the number of adults receiving treatment has more than doubled from 4,772 in 1997/1998 to 10,218 in 2005/06.

The statistics, which cover the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority, show that across the UK more than 20 children a day are treated for alcohol-related problems.

A spokesman for the Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Action team said: “Clearly any increase of this nature is a concern.

“We recently published an alcohol strategy and part of that is to target young people to try to intervene as early as possible to stop the trend.

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“We are also looking to engage with parents, not simply telling them to lock away drinks but to get them to talk to children about alcohol in a calm and reasonable way.

“The key message is that drinking alcohol in moderation is not a problem but abusing it can have devastating long-term consequences.”

Dawn Henry, chief executive of Suffolk Young Peoples Health Project, which offers help and support to young people in the area, said: “I can quite believe the increase.

“Binge drinking is on the rise at the moment.

“Demand for our services is consistently increasing across the board for all sorts of information which includes alcohol and drugs.”

The latest figures show that in 1997/98 231 children and 4,772 adults were treated for alcohol-related illnesses at hospitals in the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Area.

This is compared to 10,218 adults and 258 children in 2001/2.

n.Has your child suffered problems as a result of drinking too much? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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www.suffolkdaat.org.uk

REVELLERS in Suffolk are being advised to take precautions to prevent making themselves ill by drinking too much this New Year.

Dr Amanda Jones of the Suffolk Primary Care Trust public health team said it is possible for people to enjoy themselves while taking precautions to minimise the adverse effects of drinking alcohol.

She said: “If people are going out drinking, it is advisable to eat beforehand or at least drink a glass of milk or water before they go.

"People should also alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, set a sensible drinking limit and stick to it,.

"Those who feel unwell the day after drinking too much alcohol are advised to drink lots of water, eat as soon as they can and remember not to drive as their alcohol level may still be over the legal limit."

Top tips for safe drinking:

n>While you're getting ready have something to eat such as pasta or a sandwich. Alcohol on an empty stomach makes people drunk more quickly.

n>If you're out for the night - decide on a limit of how much you plan to drink and stick to it. Watch the size of your drinks.

n>Avoid Happy Hour - unless you are going to go home after that hour.

n>Find something else to do while you drink, like darts, or pool, dancing or pub quizzes. This will distract you from drinking and help you to drink slowly.

n>At parties say no to top-ups. You won't be able to keep track of how much you are drinking.

n>If you are thirsty - drink water. Your body is telling you that you are dehydrated. Drink water or soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks to dilute the alcohol

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