True Cost Of Teenage Binge Drinking Revealed
Underage binge drinking is costing ambulance services in England £19m a year, according to Alcohol Concern.
It is the first time the figures have been released, following a Freedom of Information Act request.
The statistics show alcohol consumption amongst under-18 year olds is becoming an increasing problem.
The number picked up by paramedics rose by 32% between 2002 and 2007, with 36 children a day taken to hospital because of alcohol abuse.
Also, the agency found 28% more girls than boys were treated between 2004 and 2009.
Former binge drinker Nancy told Sky News she started drinking at 13 with friends on a Friday or Saturday night at the park.
After drinking too much one Friday night, she was taken to hospital where she had to have her stomach pumped, was put on a drip and kept in overnight.
At 16, Nancy’s life became more difficult – she moved into a hostel, stopped going to college and started to drink more heavily.
With little money she began to shoplift her alcohol and after turning 17, Nancy was arrested for shoplifting several bottles of vodka.
She received an eight-month court order and was given a case worker.
She now says she is now turning her life around.
Referring to the case worker, she told Sky News: “He made me look at what I was doing in a different way.
“He introduced me to an alcoholic and we had a conversation, and I just thought I don’t want to end up like that.
“I want to get out while I can, instead of 20 years time when I’ve wasted my life away.”
Students during the Carnage UK pub crawl in Brighton
In some cities, like London, binge drinking is so common, special booze buses are put on to cope.
Brian Hayes, a paramedics team leader from London Ambulance Service told Sky News: “Teenage binge drinking is a massive burden.
“We need to be concentrating on life threatening calls like heart attacks and road traffic accidents, not being called out because people have just over-indulged is just not acceptable.”
Alcohol Concern blames drink promotions on the rising number of teenagers asking for help.
Chief executive Don Shenker said: “As long as alcohol remains as heavily promoted as it currently is, young drinkers will continue to consume far more than they might otherwise, leading to inevitable health harms, wasting ambulance and police time.
“As well as tackling the ludicrously cheap price of alcohol in some settings, we want all under-18 year olds who turn up at A&E to be advised and supported to address their drinking.
“There are some excellent examples of police and ambulance crews working hand in hand with youth and alcohol services and these should be properly funded and rolled out to ensure we give young people the best chance of changing their behaviour.”