150% surge in number of teenagers seeking treatment for alcohol abuse

THERE has been a 150% jump in the number of juveniles seeking treatment for alcohol in the last six years, figures show.

It is over three times the increase among all age groups.

The Health Research Board (HRB), which published the figures, said measures to combat the problem include price increases and restrictions on alcohol sales.

The HRB report comes as other research claims that 590,000 children are exposed to hazardous drinking by their parents on a regular basis.

Data showed over 42,000 treatment cases for problem alcohol use between 2005 and 2010.

Dr Suzi Lyons, senior HRB researcher, said this data was an “underestimate” of the true figure, as they only had data for a “fair majority”, but not all, treatment centres.

Key findings show:

*The total number of cases increased from 5,525 in 2005 to 7,866 (42%).

*New cases rose from 3,288 to 4,178 — up 29%.

*Total number of cases involving people under 18 rose from 133 to 335 — an increase of 152%.

*New cases of under-18s rose from 109 to 267 — up 145%.

Dr Lyons said the hike was down to increased reporting but “it is also likely that it reflects a true increase in the number of people requiring treatment”.

The report shows the incidence of treated alcohol use jumped from 110 per 100,000 people in 2005 to 133 in 2010.

Kathryn D’Arcy of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland said the industry would continue to support responsible drinking and noted the drop in alcohol consumption in recent years.

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