Binge-drinking is falling out of fashion among young people in Switzerland and alcohol dependency is diagnosed less frequently. Experts point out, however, that every year almost 25,000 people are admitted to hospital with alcohol-related problems.
Since the peak in 2008, the number of inpatients – of all ages – with alcohol poisoning has constantly declined, according to a study published on Wednesday carried out by Addiction Switzerland for the Federal Office of Public Health. The researchers looked at the period 2003-2012.
The largest decrease in alcohol poisoning since 2008 (19%) was seen among 10- to 23-year-olds. However, the number is still 60% higher than 2003, which Addiction Switzerland said was “alarmingly high”.
The most frequent visitors to hospitals for alcohol poisoning were 14- and 15-year-olds.
In 2012, around 9% of the 11,700 people who were hospitalised for alcohol poisoning were under 24. The most affected age group, with a fifth of all cases, were 45- to 54-year-olds.
The same year, almost 17,200 people were admitted to hospital for alcohol dependency, 28% lower than in 2003, according to Addiction Switzerland.
The private foundation stressed that the figures did not reflect the true extent of the problem in Switzerland since they only covered inpatient treatment by hospitals. They do not take into account drunk people who are taken home by the police, consultations with GPs or out-patient treatment in hospitals.
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