Teenagers dying for a drink


On the evening of Monday July 6 Paddy Higgins, of Surrey, was enjoying a night out with friends at a restaurant in Newquay, the party capital of the South West. He was celebrating finishing his exams and was no doubt searching forward to a relaxing summer holiday. Just a few hours later, he lay dead at the foot of clifftops on the town’s Tolcarne beach. 

Paddy was only 16 years old and the exams he had completed had been GCSEs. That night, in spite of becoming underage, he had been able to buy Corona beers and sambuccas without having to show any ID. Just a few weeks earlier, 18 year old Andrew Curwell, of Lancashire, was also identified dead at the foot of cliffs in Newquay soon after a night out in the town. 

Campaigns are afoot to avoid the sale of alcohol to underage individuals in Newquay, but with fake ID so painless to obtain on the world wide web, nearby police and families of the victims face a big job.


Troubling trends

Newquay, CornwallNewquay: scene of double tragedy

These recent events are a tragic example of the worsening binge drinking culture among teenagers in Britain. Last week, the NHS’s Specifics Survey into Drug Use, Smoking and Drinking amongst Young People today revealed that, even though the numbers of teenagers drinking have fallen, those who do drink are drinking alot more. In truth, the quantity of alcohol that British teenagers drink has doubled because the early 1990s.

Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, spoke exclusively to Tom-Brown.com: “Teens are drinking an additional two units a week on typical, which takes their intake up to 14 to 16 units every single. It’s a lot when you take into account the limit for adult girls per week is 14 units – and these are 11 to 15 year olds. 

“Their bodies are not yet developed – they’re still growing and their organs are creating. Also, sensible drinking habits may possibly not have been learned however. One other interesting trend is that girls have caught up with boys, across the board, and are just as likely to take portion in binge drinking,” he comments.


Teens in rehab

The National Therapy Agency has released statistics that show the quantity of people under 18 receiving rehabilitation treatment for alcohol problems and dependency has risen dramatically in recent years. In 2006, there were 4781 under-18s in treatment programmes for alcohol dependency. In 2007, that figure rose to 6707. 

“These figures are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Don Shenker, “They do not count the young people who are not in rehab, who may well get counselling, or teens whose troubles haven’t been picked up.”


Under the influence

binge drinking, teenage drinkingNumerous mid-teens drink to excessThe recent NHS report also revealed that school pupils are additional than three times as most likely to drink alcohol if they live with other drinkers. The percentage of 11-15 year old youngsters who drank alcohol in the week prior to the survey was five per cent in non-drinking households, growing to 31 per cent in households with three or much more other folks who drank alcohol.

This follows Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson’s statement earlier in the year that youngsters really should never be given alcohol in the dwelling, in spite of the reality that it is legal for children over the age of 5 to be given an alcoholic drink by their parents. 

Professor Ian Gilmore, the president of the Royal College of Physicians and chair of the Alcohol Well being Alliance, highlights other worrying trends: “There's some evidence that youngsters who taste it early are even more most likely to grow to be alcohol dependent in later life. 1 mustn't shed sight of the reality that alcohol is the biggest cause of death in young males aged 16-24.”

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