To provide insight into the number of adolescents admitted to hospital with alcohol intoxication in the period 2007-2016.
Observational cross-sectional study.
We used data from the hospital admissions for alcohol intoxication among minors that had been reported to the Dutch Paediatric Surveillance System (NSCK). We also used data on minors who had been admitted to hospital for other alcohol-related reasons.
In the period 2007-2016, 4,674 minors were admitted to a hospital in the Netherlands with alcohol intoxication. The number of minors admitted with alcohol intoxication increased annually from 2007 to 2011, after which it became reasonably stable, with a peak in 2015. The average age at which a minor was admitted increased (2007: 14.9 years; 2016: 15.5 years), and this also applied to the duration of loss of consciousness (2007: 2.24 hours; 2016: 3.12 hours). Parents of young people admitted with alcohol intoxication have become markedly stricter; 69% had given permission for consumption of alcohol in 2011; in 2016 that had decreased to 19%.
Raising the minimum age for obtaining low-alcohol drinks, the creation of better awareness of the consequences of alcohol use and the opening of the Outpatient Adolescents and Alcohol Clinics seem to have had an effect. The average age of young people with alcohol intoxication has increased and parents have become stricter, but binge-drinking is still a serious problem. Further research is needed into characteristics and treatment of the group of young people who end up in hospital.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.