DAK report: Binge drinking among adolescents is increasing



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According to a study by the health insurance company DAK, so-called binge drinking among young people in Germany is increasing dramatically.

Reports of juvenile binge drinking are increasing rapidly and paint a worrying picture of adolescents dealing with alcohol. Nothing reminds of “drinking alcohol” in the sense of the word when the youngsters are drinking. Your main concern, it seems: get into a rush in no time and forget everything else.

The DAK has now published its current figures on cases of alcohol abuse among adolescents for North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse based on the information provided by the statistical state offices. From this it can be seen that the number of coma drinkers among young people has increased significantly, which also reflects the nationwide trend. For example, the number of underage coma drinkers in NRW reached 6,578 with hospitalization due to alcohol abuse. Seven percent more adolescents than in the previous year had to be treated in the intensive care unit because of the massive alcohol consumption. In the city of Cologne alone, around 800 minors, mostly girls, had to be treated for medical attention in 2009, according to the municipal health authority. In Hesse, too, the number of adolescents who had to be hospitalized with alcohol poisoning reached their highest level with 1,690 cases. The number of young binge drinkers here has increased by around four percent since 2008. "Alcohol-related hospital deliveries have risen sharply since 2003," emphasized Hesse's DAK country manager, Michael Hübner, adding: "The current figures are alarming."

According to the statistics from the regional statistical offices, the number of alcohol abuse cases to be treated clinically among young people between the ages of ten and 20 has increased by more than 70 percent in the past six years. According to the DAK, prevention is all the more important. With its "colorful instead of blue" campaign, which goes directly to schools and explains the consequences of alcohol abuse, the DAK hopes to counteract the sharp rise in alcohol consumption among young people. In the next year alone, more than 570 schools in Hessen will be contacted and asked to participate, the DAK said.

In Cologne, the “Halt Cologne” project was also launched at the children's hospital on Amsterdamer Strasse, in which young people and their parents are addressed in a situation in which they are shocked and full of shame. Just before the young patients who have been brought in with alcohol poisoning leave the hospital, the doctors at the children's clinic seek a conversation with them and their parents. If the legal guardians and the adolescents agree, the doctors call in a social worker for drug help, who starts a critical discourse with those affected in the clinic. Immediately after such a drastic experience, the time is right, because "then (...) many are (are) at a point where they are ready to stop," said the City of Cologne's Health Department, Agnes Klein. "We now have the opportunity to provide them with professional help in this phase," continued the health department head. Thomas Hambüchen of the Drugs Aid Cologne also praised the project, because "the timing is ideal, we take advantage of the weak moment so that it gets better later," said the expert. Together with the adolescents, the social workers not only discuss how the total failure could have occurred, but also what other problems that adversely affect the adolescents that could have played a role in alcohol abuse.

Overall, the DAK's data paint a rather bleak picture in terms of alcohol abuse among young people, but there is also a glimmer of hope. The number of juvenile binge drinkers in Saxony decreased by around 16 percent from 2008 to 2009. A considerable success, not least due to the intensive educational work. Herbert Mrotzeck, DAK head of state in Saxony emphasized in view of the current figures: "The decline in alcohol abuse overall is encouraging (...), but there is still no reason to give the all-clear. We cannot let up in our commitment and broad education in schools now. "(Fp)

Also read:
50 percent of 15-year-olds get drunk regularly
Looks for a big problem in old age
Alcohol increases the risk of cancer
No alcohol during pregnancy

Photo credit: Christoph Aron (pixelmaster-x) / pixelio.de

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