Blackpool children being treated for liver cirrhosis after underage drinking binges

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Blackpool has one of the highest rates of hospital admissions for underage drinkers with serious conditions caused by alcohol abuse, new Public Health England data shows.

Charities say these figures are “alarming” and warn that young people are increasingly becoming binge drinkers.

In Blackpool, 58 children were taken to hospital with illnesses directly linked to excessive drinking, between April 2015 and March 2018.

That’s a rate of 67 admissions per every 100,000 children, compared with an average of 33 per 100,000 in England. The figures are measured over a three year period due to low numbers.

The data only includes patients suffering conditions which are entirely attributable to alcohol abuse, such as liver cirrhosis.

Dr John Larsen, director of evidence and impact for alcohol education charity Drinkaware, warned that young people are more likely to binge drink.

He said: “While young people drink less frequently overall than older people, they are more likely to binge drink.

“The more alcohol people drink, the greater their risk of developing a serious conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as seven types of cancer.

“Men and women should not drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.”

Including adults, there were 58 hospital admissions in Blackpool for conditions caused by alcohol abuse between April 2017 and March 2018. That is 10 per cent higher than five years earlier

Vanessa Hebditch, director of policy at the British Liver Trust, said the Government should rise taxes on alcoholic drinks or set a minimum unit price.

She said: “These statistics are alarming. Filling up your supermarket trolley with wine and drinking at home has become increasingly acceptable and affordable.

“The Government should address this by creating a minimum unit price or introducing stronger controls on the advertising so consumers can make an informed choice.”

Scotland introduced a minimum unit price of 50p in May 2017, while the Welsh Government is planning to implement the same measure next summer.

Across England, 304,073 people were taken to hospital for illnesses caused by alcohol abuse. That’s three per cent higher than five years earlier.

Salford, in Greater Manchester, has the highest rate of admissions for alcohol-specific conditions. Redbridge, in east London, has the lowest.