The National Pediatric Toxicology Center of the Grigore Alexandrescu Children Hospital in Bucharest sees, on average, two weekly cases of tweens in alcoholic coma, Adevărul reported. They are girls and boys, aged 12 or 13.
A total of 78% of Romanian teenagers aged 16 consumed an alcoholic beverage at least once in their life, according to the latest ESPAD (European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs) research. The same study shows that 35% of minors can drink up to 5 alcoholic beverages on one occasion. This type of consumption is seen in 42% of the boys and 27% of the girls.
“Alcohol is harmful and toxic for them. We are talking about bodies that are growing, developing. From my perspective, a child under 18 shouldn’t drink alcohol,” Dr. Gabriela Niţescu, a pediatrician who coordinates the National Pediatric Toxicology Center explained.
Those who start consuming alcohol at a young age are at higher risk of developing an alcohol addiction, researchers warn. If the starting consumption age is 14, the risk of developing an alcohol addiction is 4 to 5 times higher compared to those who start consuming at 19.
A campaign aiming to support efforts to educate the young about the negative effects of alcohol consumption was started by Spirits Romania, an association representing alcoholic beverages producers and importers, together with the Romanian Football Federation and retailer Mega Image. As part of the campaign, a guide outlining educational methods to prevent and counteract the phenomenon will be launched on June 5.