More research is needed into how alcohol affects teenagers’ health, a campaign group has said.
Alcohol Concern fears a rise in teenage drinking will lead to more people suffering alcohol-related illnesses at an earlier age.
The group called for further study after it emerged that a 22-year-old man has died in hospital after becoming an alcoholic as a teenager.
A spokeswoman said: ‘There has not really been much research into younger people’s drinking and the effects that is having on health in this country.
‘A study in the United States has shown that if you having your first drink at an age younger than 15 then you are more likely to become alcohol dependent.’
Gary Reinbach, 22, of Dagenham, Essex, needed an organ transplant due to cirrhosis of the liver after drinking from the age of 13.
His mother, Madeline Hanshaw, told The Sunday Times: ‘Gary didn’t know what he was doing when he was 13. He didn’t know it would come to this when he was 22.’
The spokeswoman said: ‘This case doesn’t surprise us at all, sadly.’