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Under-10s treated for alcohol misuse

Astronomical figures show thousands of children as young as 10 are being admitted to hospital for alcohol-related mental disorders.

According to official figures obtained from the government, last year, 1,043 under-14s, including 44 under-10s were taken to hospital with mental disorders related to alcohol misuse.

A further 5,223 children aged between 14 and 17 years were also admitted for the same problem.

The information, presented by the Liberal Democrats, shows the number of cases has soared in recent years, with total admissions among all ages having risen from 108,427 in 2003–04 to 167,197 in 2007–08.

Liberal Democrat culture, media and sport spokesman, Don Foster, said the culture of binge drinking is to blame for the increase and the problem is "out of control".

He said: "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."

He added that the NHS must be equipped to deal with the problem of "alcohol dependency and other alcohol-related conditions" and we can not "bury our heads in the sand about the consequences".

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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