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TROUBLE'S BREWING; EXCLUSIVE Kids of NINE have alcoholism symptoms 5,500 aged 10 to 13 treated in hospital And 3,200 child booze victims are GIRLS.

Byline: By NIGEL NELSON Political Editor

MORE than 300 children aged NINE and under have been treated for symptoms of alcoholism.

And the number of teens aged 14 to 17 admitted to hospital after falling over drunk has soared 21 per cent.

Other shock figures for the past five years that reveal the terrifying extent of the booze crisis among the nation's youth include:

AN astonishing 5,534 children aged ten to 13 admitted to hospital with alcoholism symptoms - 3,203 of them girls.

AND24,671 aged 14 to 17 were admitted for drink abuse - 5,223 of them last year alone. Lib Dem culture spokesman Don Foster, who obtained the statistics, said:

"These astronomical figures show binge drinking is out of control. We cannot bury our heads in the sand about the consequences of our drinking culture.

"It is particularly shocking that so many hospital admissions involve children under ten." Youngsters were treated for conditions such as acute drunkenness, chronic dependence, withdrawal and psychotic disorder - all symptoms of alcoholism.

Don Shenker, boss of charity Alcohol Concern, urged the Government to boost the price of booze to deter kids from buying it.

He also demanded a TV drinks adverts ban during the day when children might be watching.

Surveys show that as many as 500,000 children between ten and 17 manage to buy alcohol illegally.

Drink is 65 per cent more affordable today than 20 years ago.

nigel.nelson@people.co.uk

HOW BAD? THIS BAD..

304 under 10s admitted with alcoholism symptoms

14-17 year olds treated for alcoholism symptoms up 30 per cent

415 10-13 year olds admitted to hospital after injuring themselves, that's 185 boys and 230 girls.

5,534 10-13 year olds admitted for alcoholism symptoms

3,203 girls aged 10-13 admitted for alcoholism symptoms

21 per cent increase in 14-17 year olds hospitalised after falling over drunk

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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Mar 15, 2009
Words:317
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