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