Alcopop lure for under-age drinkers

SOCIETY
The number of under-age teenagers drinking alcohol regularly has grown by 15 per cent over the last 10 years - and a significant proportion cite the controversial "alcopops" as their introduction to alcohol, according to a new survey.

In 1996, 65 per cent of boys and 54 per cent of girls between 15 and 16 reported drinking on a weekly basis, compared with 49 and 38 per cent a decade earlier. In one Liverpool hospital last year, 200 children were admitted with alcohol overdoses, according to the Channel 4 programme Health Alert, to be shown at 8pm on Thursday.

Similarly, the numbers of children who reported having been drunk on four or more occasions has risen over the last 10 years from 38 to 53 per cent for boys and 24 to 43 per cent for girls.

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