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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Surge in child drug poisoning

22 October, 2008  

The number of children aged 18 and under who have been hospitalised due to drug poisoning has been described as “horrifying”, by the Liberal Democrats.

In the past six years in England 100,000 children aged 18 and under have been hospitalised, 20,000 of which were aged 10 or younger. The drugs involved ranged from illicit narcotics and hallucinogens to legal antibiotics.

The statistics gathered from every NHS hospital in England were released by the Department of Health in response to parliamentary questions from the Liberal Democrats.

The party’s health spokesman Norman Lamb said: “The toll of damage from drugs is immense and the cost to the NHS is enormous.

“Ministers must ensure that local services work together to ensure the lives of children are not destroyed by drugs.”

The figures recorded 20,378 admissions for drug poisoning among under-11s between 2002/03 and 2006/07, 39,536 11 to 15-year-olds and 38,725 aged 16 to 18, a rise of 62% for 16 to 18-year-olds.

Since 2000 in England there were a total of 493,750 admissions to hospital in England for drug poisoning including adult cases.

Copyright PA Business 2008

Department of Health