The Northern Trust healthcare area - whch covers Ballymena district - has the second highest rate of children aged 15 and under admitted to hospital due to alcohol related conditions,
This shocking statistic was revealed as a result of questions put to the Health Minister by North Antrim DUP MLA David McIlveen.
The Northern Trust area was second only to the Belfast Trust, and had a 50% higher rate of admission than the third ranked trust.
Now, Mr. McIlveen has called for more to be done to address child alcohol abuse in the area and has written to both the Health Minister and the Education Minister to pull together a taskforce.
Speaking this week the DUP MLA said: ‘As a new member of the Health Committee, I asked the Minister about child alcohol abuse in Northern Ireland as a whole. Through my role on the Northern Ireland Policing Board and of course my work throughout the constituency, I know child alcohol abuse is becoming more and more of an issue. Parents are concerned, children are growing up very quickly and many residents are concerned about the associated Anti-Social Behaviour problems.
“To put this into perspective, these are children, aged 15 and under, who are not only consuming alcohol, but who are admitted to acute hospital services for alcohol related conditions. I find that an appalling situation and I have contacted both the Health Minister and the Education Minister to see ensure that we act urgently to stop this dangerous trend.
“Since 2010/11, the number of children admitted to hospital due to alcohol related conditions has doubled. It has doubled and we are not doing enough to prevent it. We have a responsibility to take control of this and I will certainly not allow that responsibility to pass,”