The number of teenage girls suffering from alcohol poisoning is on the rise.
Between 1992 and 2012, there have been 17,862 cases of poisoning involving teenagers in the UK. And a study by the University of Nottingham has shown that the number of alcohol-related poisonings involving 15 and 16-year-old girls has doubled.
It is believed that this is down to binge drinking and the availability of cheap alcohol.
Researchers studied records from GP surgeries across Britain and found that there had been a 27 per cent increase in poisoning cases in the 20-year period from 1992 to 2012. As well as drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol, poisoning includes deliberately or accidentally taking a toxic or hazardous substance.
The study, which was published in the journal Injury Prevention, showed that girls were much more likely to intentionally poison themselves than teenage boys.
The authors of the report wrote: “One potential explanation for the increase in alcohol poisonings over time is increased availability, with the relative affordability of alcohol in the UK increasing steadily between 1980 and 2012, licensing hours having increased since 2003, and numbers of outlets increasing alongside alcohol harm.”
Vital for parents to talk about substance misuse
Parents play a key role in talking to their teenagers about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and watching out for signs that their son or daughter may be involved in substance misuse.
According to Mentor, a drug and alcohol misuse prevention charity, three out of four parents of children aged between 11 and 16 think they have spoken to their child about drugs. But only just over one in three 11 to 17-year-olds remember their parents raising the subject with them.
Mentor suggests talking to your child about drugs and alcohol as early as possible and picking a time when you are both calm and not in a rush to be somewhere else. Giving your teenager facts is more effective than trying to scare them and listen to what they have to say.
If you are concerned that your teenager may already be abusing drugs and alcohol, AlphaBiolabs offers a range of testing services so you can find out for sure. You can buy a home drug test kit which can tell you in just five minutes whether your child has taken drugs.
Alternatively, hair strand tests can look at drug and alcohol use over a longer period of time so you can potentially identify a pattern of substance misuse which may need addressing.