Monday, June 01, 2009

Germany Experiences Dramatic Increase in Teen Alcohol Poisonings

According to a May 26 report by the United Press International, the annual rate of alcohol poisoning among German teenagers increased by more than 100 percent during the first seven years of the current decade:

Reports by the German Federal Commissioner for Narcotic Drugs said the number of adolescents treated in the hospital for alcohol poisoning went from 9,500 in 2000 to 23,165 in 2007. About 3,800 of these alcohol poisoning patients were ages 10 to 15, the study said.

Martin Stolle and colleagues of the German Center for Addiction Research in Childhood and Adolescence in Hamburg said that the main reason for the increase was the number of intoxicated teen girls.

With a much more permissive attitude than most Americans have toward young people and alcohol, German society is thought by many to encourage responsible drinking by not forcing young people to hide their alcohol use. However, this study indicates that increased openness does not necessarily equate to a safer experience.

In addition to alcohol poisoning, teen binge drinking has been associated with a number of other health, social, and developmental problems.