The British chief medical officer has called for the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol as figures reveal a rise in the hospitalisation of young people for mental disorders related to alcohol.
The Liberal Democrats obtained figures showing that more than 1,000 under-14s, including 44 under-10s, were admitted to hospital last year in England for mental and behavioural disorders related to alcohol. More than 5,000 14- to 17-year olds were admitted, a 30 per cent increase from five years ago.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Don Foster, said: “These astronomical figures show once again that binge drinking is out of control in this country. It’s particularly shocking that so many of these admissions relate to children under the age of 10. It is now imperative that parents and schools get the resources they need to educate children from a very young age about the dangers of alcohol.”
Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson’s report on the state of public health, published yesterday, calls for a minimum pricing of 50p per unit to be introduced to reduce the consumption of alcohol. The report also calls for “passive drinking” to be highlighted as a key issue. “Passive drinking” is when children and others are harmed by other people’s drinking, in cases ranging from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, affecting more than 6,000 babies a year, to child protection cases, a quarter of which involve alcohol.