TWO children under the age of 10 were among those admitted to hospital for alcohol-related issues last year.
Earlier this month the Evening Telegraph reported that Kettering General Hospital treated 1,339 patients suffering from alcohol-related illnesses or injuries last year.
And further investigation as part of our Your Right To Know campaign has revealed the full extent of the problem.
The figures show that two of the admitted patients were aged 10 or younger and 50 were aged between 11 and 19.
The highest number of admissions was in the 40 to 49 age bracket, with 326 patients seen for alcohol-related issues.
Jackie Daverson is a practitioner for the Northamptonshire branch of Aquarius, which offers help and advice to people with drug and alcohol problems.
She said: “We tend to find that 18 to 30-year-olds have problems from binge drinking, while you are more likely to see dependant alcohol users from 30 upwards.
“It’s a surprise to an extent to see such young children admitted to hospital but it’s something that is being recognised as an issue.
“There are more people under 18 or even under 13 who are not just experimenting with alcohol but are drinking regularly.
“It’s a growing trend throughout the country and it is a real concern.”
The hospital refused to release the exact age of the two youngest patients. It said releasing this information may lead to the undue stress of families and patients and to patients being identified.
Northamptonshire NHS has identified reducing alcohol-related hospital admissions as a top priority and said it is working with the police, councils and voluntary organisations to tackle the problem.
The reasons for alcohol-related admissions can range from alcohol poisoning and drunken falls to chronic conditions such as liver disease.
Anybody who has concerns about alcohol or drug use can contact Aquarius on 07530 988004.