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Drink And Drugs a Leading Cause Of Youth Deaths


Drink And Drugs a Leading Cause Of Youth Deaths

Sarah Boseley, health editor

Drink And Drugs a Leading Cause Of Youth Deaths

Sarah Boseley, health editor The deaths of more than 3,000 young people in the UK every year could be prevented and many are precipitated by Britain's drink and drugsculture, a leading child health expert claims.

"Britain has much higher rates of alcoholand drug misuse than many other high income countries," said Russell Viner, from the Institute of Child Health, in London, one of the authors of a global study on the scale and causes of adolescent deaths published today by the Lancet medical journal.The most common cause of deaths in the UK among people aged 10-24 is traffic accidents, which account for 30% of male deaths and 17% of female deaths.

The next biggest killers of boys and young men are suicide (10%) and cancer (10%), followed by other non-intentional injuries (9%) and violence (7%). The main killers of girls and young women after traffic accidents are cancer (17%), other non-intentional injuries (7%), suicide (6%) and violence (5%).

"Four out of five deaths are entirely preventable," said Viner. "Injuries are non-random preventable events."Contrary to "perceptions in the British press about gun deaths [and] knife crime", violence is not a leading cause of teenage mortality in the UK, and is a far less significant issue than in the US and some other countries. "Compared to other high-income countries, we're doing pretty well," Viner said. But he said that the alcohol problem in Britain was "pre-eminent in Europe".

He said: "Alcohol control is going to be a key element of the reduction of unintentional and intentional injuries in young people."Viner added: "We need a change in perspective. In Britain, young people are vilified.

They are seen as dangerous, seen as a potentially antisocial element, and there is fear of young people and that needs to change."Although Britain's adolescent death rate is low compared with that of most countries, its morbidity rates the long-term damage done not only by alcohol but also by obesity are high.In a commentary with the study, Robert Blum, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg school of public health, in Baltimore, says that 75% of all deaths in the second decade of life are preventable.

Credit The Guardian UK



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