Teenager’s pan­creas ‘fell apart’ af­ter booze binge Fig­ures re­veal ex­tent of un­der­age drink­ing

Middleton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE -

CHAR­LOTTE COX AND AN­NIE GOUK

ADOCTOR who works on the front­line of Greater Manch­ester’s un­der­age drink­ing epi­demic has de­scribed how a teenager’s pan­creas ‘fall apart’ and treat­ing 19-year-olds with chronic liver dam­age.

Speak­ing as new fig­ures show there were 1,000 young­sters taken to Greater Manch­ester hos­pi­tals be­cause of al­co­hol­re­lated prob­lems in the last three years.

There were 979 ad­mis­sions of un­der 18s be­tween 2013 and 2016 and more than half - 552 - were girls.

Ac­cord­ing to Public Health Eng­land hos­pi­tal doc­tors treated young­sters from Rochdale for prob­lems re­lated to drink­ing al­co­hol 57 times dur­ing this pe­riod.

Of these 24 were girls and 33 were boys.

The fig­ures show Sal­ford and Stockport had some of the high­est rates of un­der­age-drink­ing in Eng­land - and twice the na­tional av­er­age.

Dr Kieran Mo­ri­arty, who is based at Royal Bolton Hos­pi­tal, is al­co­hol lead for the Bri­tish So­ci­ety of Gas­troen­terol­ogy.

He said: “We see cases of young peo­ple which are ab­so­lute tragedies.

“Drink­ing is very harm­ful to young de­vel­op­ing brains and causes acute changes. Even a sin­gle episode of binge drink­ing can have an ef­fect on the brain.

“There is also the risk of liver dam­age. We are see­ing liver cir­rho­sis in pa­tients in their early 20s and late teens. The con- cept that al­co­hol just causes prob­lems in mid­dle aged men is no longer true.”

Re­call­ing the case of one 19-year-old, he added: “We treated a teenager suf­fer­ing acute in­flam­ma­tion of the pan­creas due to a ma­jor binge. It just about fell apart and he suf­fered acute in­tox­i­ca­tion. He was saved only by mul­ti­ple op­er­a­tions.”

Other com­mon ef­fects were co­mas and chok­ing on vomit. He added: “As we get older there are the more chronic harms. In­creased risk of cancer, par­tic­u­larly breast cancer. Even a sin­gle binge can raise your risk of mor­tal­ity.”

In the city of Manch­ester, chil­dren were ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal for drink­ing a to­tal of 162 times, or one for ev­ery 213 peo­ple un­der the age of 18.

Dr Mo­ri­arty blames al­co­hol be­ing too avail­able, af­ford­able - and ar­gues ad­ver­tis­ing ploys are by­pass­ing strict wa­ter­shed rules by us­ing so­cial me­dia.

He added: “You can get al­co­hol not just at su­per­mar­kets but at newsagents, shops, ser­vice sta­tions.

“Ad­ver­tis­ing on so­cial me­dia is done ruth­lessly to chil­dren. These are the kinds of driv­ers we are con­cerned about.”

Adults, he said, are un­likely to come to sig­nif­i­cant harm when drink­ing fewer than 14 units a week - as long as they are spread out with at least three al­co­hol-free days.

A glass of wine is two units, a sin­gle spirit is one, as is half a pint.

Across all pa­tients, 20 pc of hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions are al­co­hol-re­lated, ris­ing to 80pc on week­ends.

The data from Public Health Eng­land shows na­tion­ally there were nearly 13,000 al­co­hol­re­lated ad­mis­sions of un­der-18s.

Of those, 7,768 were girls and 5,230 were boys.

Across the coun­try, young ad­mis­sions equate to one for ev­ery 268 chil­dren in Eng­land.

De­spite the shock­ingly high num­bers of chil­dren still hav­ing to go to hos­pi­tal be­cause of drink­ing, the fig­ure has been de­clin­ing steadily for the last 10 years.

Be­tween 2006 and 2009, more than twice as many kids were be­ing hos­pi­talised by al­co­hol in Greater Manch­ester than there were over last three years - with more than 2,000 ad­mis­sions in to­tal.

New fig­ures show 1,000 young­sters were taken to Greater Manch­ester hos­pi­tals with al­co­hol­re­lated prob­lems

Dr Kieran Mo­ri­arty is al­co­hol lead for the Bri­tish So­ci­ety of Gas­troen­terol­ogy

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