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Alcohol-related illness ‘unacceptably high’ as 13,000 children admitted to hospital

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The number of children admitted to hospital through alcohol-related illness has dropped in the last 12 months but was still ‘unacceptably high’, a Government report has warned.

Some 12,832 cases of child alcohol-related illness were treated by doctors in 2008-09, fewer than the 14,501 that were witnessed in 2007-08 but still enough to prompt public health minister Gillian Merron to call on parents to discuss address drinking with their children.

Numbers over the past few years have remained relatively consistent, with 14,501 alcohol-related admissions in 2007-08 and 14,465 in 2006-07, and children in the North West more likely to end up in hospital through alcohol abuse than anywhere else in the country.

The figures have been released to coincide with the launch of a new campaign aimed at encouraging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of under-age drinking in a bid to create better drinking habits at a younger age.

A Government spokesman said: “The new ‘Why let drink decide?’ campaign encourages parents to talk to their children at an earlier age about the risks associated with drinking.

“Ultimately we want to delay the age at which young people start drinking and to provide families with the expert advice and information they need to help their children make sensible decisions about alcohol.”

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