More than 80 young people a year in East Sussex are admitted to hospital with serious alcohol related conditions.
These shocking figures have been released during Alcohol Awareness Week (18 to 24 October 2010) which this year is aimed at helping young people better understand the importance of drinking sensibly.
In East Sussex between 2006 and 2009, an average of 85 under 18s per year had to go into hospital because of a serious health problem related to consuming too much alcohol.
These problems fell into two categories - mental and behavioural disorders and alcohol poisoning.
Diana Grice, Director of Public Health at NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald and NHS Hastings and Rother, says:
"These statistics show the damage that young people can do to themselves by not drinking sensibly.
The latest advice from the government’s top doctor, the Chief Medical Officer, is that you should not drink alcohol until you are at least 15, and ideally not until you are 18.
If you do drink it should be in moderation, only now and again and no more than once a week
Stay safe if you drink.
Eat before you drink. Plan how you are going to get home. Never leave a friend on their own. If you might have sex, carry and use a condom."
A range of organisations, including the local NHS, East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police and others, are working together as the East Sussex Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) to spread the message about responsible drinking, both during Alcohol Awareness Week and throughout the year.
The East Sussex DAAT have worked with young people and service user volunteers at a local alcohol treatment service to produce a short animated film to raise awareness about the effects of alcohol.
This video will be launched this weekend at the ‘Access All Areas’ event, which hundreds of young people are expected to attend, at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.
If you would like confidential help, advice or information about alcohol, contact: Action for Change on tel 0300 111 2470 or visit www.action-for-change.org.
If you are a parent/carer and are concerned about your child and their drinking, or you are a young person who wants someone to talk to about alcohol, then you can seek help and advice from your local service: Under 19’s Substance Misuse Service - tel 01323 841470 or email U19SMS@eastsussex.gov.uk
Further information is also available via the partnership's website: www.safeineastsussex.org.uk