Sunday, 22 March 2009


The number of young women treated for alcohol poisoning has increased by a staggering 90 per cent in the past five years, according to the Department of Health statistics – yet the government is failing to act upon the problem.

Teenage girls treated for alcohol poisoning now outnumber boys by three to one.

Increasing numbers of young children have also become victims of 'binge drinking' as 98 girls under the age of 14 were admitted to hospital last year.

The disparity between genders appears to be particularly acute among teenagers. A total of 4,439 girls aged 14 to 17 were seen by doctors for alcohol poisoning over the past five years, compared with 1,776 boys.

Women and girls now represent more than half – 54 per cent- of all admissions for alcohol poisoning.

Females who drink excessively are more at risk of cancer, digestive problems and strokes.

The figures obtained by the
Liberal Democrats show 13,074 women in England were treated in 2008 compared with 6,691 in 2003, a rise of 95 per cent.

Over the same period, the number of men admitted to hospital for a similar complaint rose from 6,329 in 2003 to 10,904 last year, a 72 per cent increase.

Opposition MPs said the figures showed that the Government must do more to tackle alcohol abuse, described as one of the gravest public health problems facing the country.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Don Foster said: "Such dramatic increases raise serious concerns that the health messages on alcohol simply aren't getting through.

"Local communities, police officers and hospital staff are being forced to bear the binge drinking burden while ministers continue to do little more than pay lip-service to the issue.

"These figures make clear we need to do a lot more to educate women about the health consequences of drinking too much.

"Unless we put an end to alcohol being sold at pocket-money prices, and start educating our children, these figures are only set to get worse."

The affects of binge drinking adds an increasing pressure on the National Health Service. It is estimated the NHS has a bill of £2.7billion a year for alcohol abuse.

Last week Sir Liam Donaldson, the Government's top medical adviser, warned that "cheap alcohol is killing us as never before".

In his annual report on the state of the nation's health, he wrote: "Quite simply, England is drinking far too much. England has an alcohol problem."

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