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Children as young as SEVEN are being admitted to hospital with alcohol addiction
380 children aged 10 or under treated for intoxication over four year period
Figures are likely to be higher as 67 NHS trusts did not supply informationOne seven-year-old boy treated was deemed to be 'addicted' to alcoholAffected children often come from homes where alcohol already a problem
Worryingly, 67 of the trusts approached either failed or refused to the Freedom of Information request, meaning the figures are likely to be even higher.
The most alarming incident was that of an intoxicated seven-year-old boy said to be 'addicted' to alcohol who was treated at a hospital in Sussex.
The Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust described his diagnosis as 'alcohol intoxication' and the reason for his attendance as 'alcohol related'.
'The primary diagnosis was a mental and behavioural disorder due to acute intoxication with alcohol,' a report said.
For patient confidentiality reasons, the trust would not divulge any other detail except to state he was admitted to hospital in 2008.
In another case, a 10-year-old boy was admitted to a hospital in Devon after drinking so much he collapsed.
Meanwhile, at least 25 girls and boys aged between seven and ten were taken to hospital in England between 2008 and 2012 to get help for an alcohol-induced disorder.
And hundreds more children were rushed to A&E because they were drunk, though not necessarily suffering from an ongoing issue with alcohol.
In some of the cases it is likely the alcohol was consumed accidentally, although the data held by hospitals does not always specify this.
In one worrying example of child neglect, a two-year-old boy was rushed to a hospital run by Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust last year after accidentally drinking vodka.
And in another case, a baby who hadn't even turned one was hospitalised in Gloucestershire after sustaining a head injury while intoxicated with alcohol.
One case reported involved a baby who was hospitalised after sustaining a head injury while intoxicated with alcohol (posed by model)
The research, by the Ferrari Press Agency, revealed all five of the worst-hit hospital trusts were in the south of England – with the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust topping the list.
A total of 46 drunk children aged ten or under were rushed to A&E at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading between 2008 and 2012.
Two of these – a nine-year-old girl and a ten-year-old boy – were admitted as in-patients to receive treatment for an alcohol-induced mental and behavioural disorder.
Nick Barton, chief executive of the
charity Action on Addiction, said children who suffered from alcohol
problems were likely to have an alcoholic parent.
He said: 'Children who grow up in
homes where their parents have alcohol and drug problems are seven times
more likely to develop substance misuse problems themselves.
'A recent study indicated that 22 per cent of children live with a parent who drinks hazardously.
'A particularly worrying finding was the lack of awareness among parents about the effects of their drinking on their children.
'These children are at risk in a
variety of ways, from disruption of family life, social isolation and a
threat to safety as a result of parents' alcohol related behaviour, to
the accessibility of alcohol. Often they assume the parental role.'