Teenage alcohol abuse shock
SHOCKING figures revealing the extent of Suffolk's teenage alcohol problem can be revealed today.Since April last year, paramedics have responded to 160 emergency calls to children in Suffolk who have drunk so much alcohol they require medical attention.
SHOCKING figures revealing the extent of Suffolk's teenage alcohol problem can be revealed today.
Since April last year, paramedics have responded to 160 emergency calls to children in Suffolk who have drunk so much alcohol they require medical attention.
Some of the youngsters are as young as 11 and 12 and have passed out in parks and playgrounds after drinking themselves unconscious. The majority of the emergency calls relate to teenage girls.
Overall, 316 emergency calls relating to children aged between ten and 17 who had taken an overdose in Suffolk have been made since April. These include drug overdoses.
Ambulance chiefs admit the figures relating to alcohol are just the tip of the iceberg as many more youngsters are damaging their bodies with drink without coming to the attention of paramedics.
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “Drink-related incidents are completely self-induced.
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“It restricts resources and could mean someone having a cardiac arrest would not get seen as quickly as they should do.
“Children as young as 12 or 13 are getting hold of alcohol either through shopkeepers selling it or adults buying it for them, both of whom are irresponsible and are contributing to short-term or longer-term health problems.
“If you're going to a drunken 13-year-old in a park and taking them home to their parents, is it really what the ambulance is there for?”
“If someone is so drunk that they need to hospitalised, then obviously that's a real emergency.”
The spokesman said it was not so much the number of youngsters drinking now as the volume of drink being consumed which was alarming.
He said: “It doesn't appear to be half a pint of your dad's larger anymore. It seems to be kids going out in parks and playgrounds and drinking half a bottle of whiskey.
“Obviously when you're young you do not know how much alcohol you can take before you pass out or need medical attention.
Janet Holmes, service co-ordinator of NORCAS Youth Service, an East Anglian-based charity providing support to youngsters with drug and alcohol problems, said the service worked with many young people who had problems with the misuse of alcohol.
She said: “National research indicates that young people are experimenting with and drinking higher levels at a younger age and any research that we have undertaken locally supports this.
“Often there is much emphasis placed on illegal drug use but little on alcohol due to the fact that it is legal and socially acceptable.”
Suffolk Constabulary has spearheaded a number of campaigns to curb underage drinking in the county, in association with partner agencies such as Suffolk trading standards.