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A campaign group has called for more research into the way alcohol can affect teenagers’ health.
Alcohol Concern said it was worried that a rise in teenage drinking would lead to more people suffering alcohol-related illnesses at younger ages.
The organisation called for further study as it emerged that a 22-year-old man was dying in hospital after becoming a teenage alcoholic.
“There has not really been much research into younger people’s drinking and the effects that is having on health in this country,” said an Alcohol Concern spokeswoman.
“A study in the United States has shown that if you having your first drink at an age younger than 15 then you are more likely to become alcohol dependent. And we would like to see research done in the UK.”
Gary Reinbach, 22, of Dagenham, Essex, was said to be “teetering on the brink of death” and in need of a liver transplant.
His mother Madeline Hanshaw told a newspaper that her son had started drinking at 13 and had cirrhosis of the liver.
“This case doesn’t surprise us at all, sadly,” said the Alcohol Concern spokeswoman. “Statistics show that more people are getting liver disease in their 30s and if more teenagers are drinking people will become seriously ill at a younger age.”
Mr Reinbach is being treated at University College Hospital, London.
“Gary didn’t know what he was doing when he was 13,” his mother told The Sunday Times. “He didn’t know it would come to this when he was 22.”
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