Alcohol poisoning up amongst youth

Doctors are not noticing a difference between how parents and young people are handling their alcohol intake. Last year, the number of young people who ended up unconscious or in hospital due to alcohol stayed relatively the same. In the first quarter of 2014, doctors have also not noticed a difference.

"The law has changed, but our social norm about alcohol hasn't yet", pediatrician Nico van der Ley tells the NOS. Last year, 713 children were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. The year before that, 706 children.

The average age at which children are binge drinking to the extent of needing to be hospitalized stays at 15.5. The youngest patients were 12 years old.

A light drop in these figures happened in 2012, for the first time in years. This trend did not, however, last. "Of course I had also hoped that the drop would continue. But with the raising of the age limit on the horizon, young people in the age group of 16, 17, and 18 years still pulled a spurt under the mask of 'it's still allowed now'", says the pediatrician.

Van der Ley does not expect a change this year yet. He says that the social norm has to change. Eindhoven and Zwolle seem to be the only places in the Netherlands where fewer children were hospitalized.

"In regions where there is active cooperation, you see that this has a real effect. But the penny still hasn't dropped with many parents and guardians", Van der Ley emphasizes.

Van der Ley says that it will simply take time, but that the signs of change are starting to bubble to the surface. "In the last time I have spoken to several parents who took other parents to court because their child was allowed to drink so much there. That never happened up to now."


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