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WALES: My two bottles of vodka a day . . . at 17; Teenage girl tells of her 'rescue'.

Byline: By DAVID POWELL

A TEENAGER told how she drank two bottles of vodka a day as new figures emerged about alcohol abuse among Welsh youngsters.

Amber Edwards would knock back the booze in her bedroom to forget her family breakdown troubles last year when she was 17.

Amber, now an 18-year-old in Wrexham, was saved by staff from Cyngor Alcohol Information Service (CAIS) who helped her to tackle her problems.

The 18-year-olds experience comes as a new investigation revealed an alarming, 11% increase in numbers of youngsters seeking Welsh hospital treatment for alcohol abuse.

In 2004-05, there were 479 under-i8s which rose to 531 last year.

There were 88 cases in North west Wales and 46 in North east Wales areas for 2005/2006.

Describing her own traumatic case, Amber said: "I began drinking in April or May last year due to a family breakdown.

"I used to get up at about noon and go down to Tesco and buy two bottles of vodka for pounds 6.99 each.

"I could afford it as I had a payout ahead of my 18th birthday.

"I used to drink two litres of vodka every day. I drank it secretly in my bedroom. I drank it to make me forget what was going on in my family."

It was last summer when she finally hit rock bottom when she sought emergency treatment in the A&E department of Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

But as she made her way home, the still-unsteady girl fell and cracked her head on a railway line. It was the final straw. She had already been arrested twice, once for fighting and once for being drunk and disorderly on the streets of Wrexham.

"I had to go to hospital because I was in such a bad way. I then heard about CAIS which has helped me get back on my feet," she said.

Amber, who is living in sheltered accommodation, says she was not scared to seek help from CAIS.

In fact, it's the best thing she ever did.

Amber said: "Yes, I do drink now but only occasionally. I would advise any teenagers out there to get help if they think they have a problem."

davidpowell@dailypost.co.uk

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Amber Edwards has told how she drank two bottles of vodka a day aged just 17, but was helped on the road to recovery by the CAIS service Picture: ANDREW PRICE
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 5, 2007
Words:404
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