Incidence of child alcohol poisoning increases in Northern Ireland

Incidence of child alcohol poisoning increases in Northern Ireland

  • November 2018
  • Posted By James Lawson

Binge drinking has become a problem affecting young people in Northern Ireland. According to a report by the BBC, hospitals in Northern Ireland have admitted more than 300 children due to alcohol poisoning during the past six years. Admissions of people under the age of 18 have increased by almost 20% since 2013 even though overall admissions decreased by 40% during the same period.

In 2013, 1,389 people received treatment for having ingested a toxic amount of alcohol in Northern Ireland. By 2017, total admissions had dropped to 838, but the average number of admissions for children did not decrease. Last year, hospitals in Northern Ireland admitted 53 people under the age of 18, an increase from 45 reported in 2013.

The data for Northern Ireland in the BBC’s report is in sharp contrast to that presented in a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It showed a huge decrease in alcohol consumption among young people in England. Published in September, the WHO report revealed that 65% of people aged 16-17 drank alcohol, a decrease from 88% in 2001. Among children aged 8-12 years, 4% had an alcoholic beverage in 2016, a decrease from 25% in 2002. Among children aged 11-15 years, 38% drank alcohol in 2014, down from 61% in 2003.

The NHS defines alcohol poisoning as consuming a toxic amount of alcohol during a short time. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, confusion, and seizures. In severe cases, it can result in brain damage, coma, and death.


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