Alcohol consumption by juveniles rising again

Thursday, 22 November 2018 17:14
Alcohol consumption by juveniles rising again © Belga
After several years of decline, the number of juvenile admissions to emergencies for alcohol intoxication has shown a preoccupying increase in 2017, according to figures produced by the Inter-Mutualist Agency (AIM) and outlined Thursday by the Christian Mutuelle.
In 2017, 2,334 young people from 12 to 17 years old were admitted to an emergency unit after consuming too much alcohol, which was an increase by 8% compared to the previous year. As far as the 18-29 years are concerned, a 2% increase was recorded, with 11,554 cases.

"Since AIM compiles health data for all insured persons, the number of hospital admissions for alcohol abuse has never been as high," the Christian Mutuelle says worriedly, calling for a "much more offensive" public health policy in this area.

Moreover, the figures show that girls face the phenomenon as much as boys do; and that cases are more prevalent in low-income families, as well as in France’s neighboring provinces (West Flanders, Hainault and Luxembourg).

For the Christian Mutuelle, Minister De Block’s clarifications concerning spirits and "pre-mixes" are insufficient. "Maintaining the authorization to sell, deliver or serve beer and wine as of age 16 is a very bad signal. In a recent opinion on the risks of alcohol consumption, the Supreme Council of Health recommends setting the limit of prohibition of alcohol at 18, as is the case in 22 out of the 28 EU countries."

As for the Minister of Health, she thinks that taking such a measure would make wine and beer seem “even more attractive.”

The Brussels Times
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