Scottish Liberal Democrats have warned that young people will pay the price for Scotland's failure to tackle problem drinking after new figures showed almost 5000 young people aged 10 – 18 have been treated for alcohol-related injury or illness in the last 3 years.
Figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats using Freedom of Information laws also showed that more than 200 children aged under 10 years of age were treated for alcohol-related injury or illness over the same period.
NHS Ayrshire and Arran reported the highest number of alcohol related incidents, with 1483 10 – 18 year olds receiving treatment between 2011 and 2013. NHS Tayside treated 1385 10-18 year olds during these years.
NHS Ayrshire and Arran also reported the highest number of under 10 year olds receiving care for alcohol-related conditions, with 86 children being treated between 2011 and 2013.
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP said:
“These figures show that young people will pay the price for Scotland's failure to tackle problem drinking. Our freedom of information requests have shown that the last three years alone almost 5000 young people aged between 10 and 18 have been treated for alcohol-related injuries or illness.
“People will be shocked to learn that more 200 children under 10 years of age were treated for alcohol-related injury or illness. These children should be out kicking a ball about, not hitting the bottle.
“It should set alarm bells ringing across society that so many young people who should not be drinking are being treated by our NHS staff for alcohol-related conditions. Problem drinking can rip apart families and places enormous financial strain on our public services, from our hospitals to our criminal justice system.
“If we are to change our national drinking culture young people must be given the education they need to make informed decisions about the impact alcohol misuse can have on their lives. Scottish Government ministers must work with young people to develop the most effective response to these troubling figures.”