Child, 3, treated for alcoholism at British hospital
A three-year-old has become the youngest child in Britain to be treated for alcoholism, it emerged today.
The child has been treated in hospital after being given alcohol regularly for six months.
The unnamed youngster, from the West Midlands, was one of 13 children who were diagnosed alcoholic by the Heart of England NHS Trust between 2008 and 2010.
In the same period, 106 teenagers aged 13 to 16 were also treated for their addiction to alcohol.
Nicolay Sorensen, a spokesman for Alcohol Concern, said: "To be diagnosed alcoholic, it's possible this child would have shown a physical dependency. They would have had to ingest enough to cause withdrawal symptoms.
"Whatever the circumstances, it is a truly horrifying case and raises very serious child protection issues."
Sarah Matthews, spokeswoman for the British Liver Trust, said: “This is an extreme case and definitely one of the youngest cases of alcoholism we have heard of.
“However, it does raise the issue of the accessibility of alcohol and how normal it has become. The power of cheap alcohol, availability and promotion makes it very difficult for people to consider their health when making decisions about if they drink and how much.”
The statistics emerged just weeks after Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust revealed that hundreds of children were admitted to hospital every year, often after their parents have bought them alcohol.
Their research found four five-year-olds among 165 under-17s they treated in the past five years for drink and drug problems.