Thousands of North-East children hospitalised for drink and drug abuse
AN addiction treatment organisation is considering offering its services to children under the age of 16 as new figures show thousands of youngsters in the North-East are being admitted to hospital for drink and drug abuse.
A new report from Public Health England shows more than 2,000 children living in the North East were admitted to hospitals for drink and drug abuse in the last three years.
he children admitted to hospital because of alcohol abuse were all under the age of 18, whilst those admitted for substance misuse were aged between 15 and 24.
Last night Ron Hogg, police, crime and victims’ commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, said the findings were “shocking”.
The report found 989 children had been admitted to hospitals across the region because of alcohol abuse, and an additional 1,141 for substance misuse.
The worst offending area across the North-East for drug misuse hospital admissions was County Durham, with 185 young people being admitted in the last three years, followed by Newcastle with 124.
As for alcohol, the worst areas were again County Durham with 160 admissions, closely followed by Sunderland with 151 child hospital admissions in three years.
The figures have been released at a time when addiction treatment firm UKAT has announced a staggering 185 per cent rise in the number of young addicts checking into rehab in the last three years.
Eytan Alexander, the organisation’s chief executive, believes that more pressure should be put on parents across the North-East to have open and honest conversations with their children.
Speaking to The Northern Echo, Mr Alexander said there was now a need for UKAT to offer its services for children younger than 16, which is the current starting age, due to the scale of the problem.
“Prevention should be the priority in tackling the rise of drink and drug misuse amongst children in order to avoid the beast which is addiction developing in later life.
“It is imperative that parents living across the North-East address the topic of drugs and alcohol early on with their children.
“Be informed and be clear. Discuss the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs on the body as well as the legal consequences associated with them. Do this for them whilst they’re young and we could start to see these numbers lowering.”
Mr Hogg added: “The findings in this report are shocking. I am in discussions with the two local authorities in my area, and other partners, to tackle these issues. The report only adds to the evidence base for taking forward these discussions so that we can address the harm that is being caused by drugs and alcohol.”