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Alcohol 'biggest cause' of hospital visits in France

Dan MacGuill · 22 Mar 2013, 12:04

Published: 22 Mar 2013 12:04 GMT+01:00

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No fewer than 400,000 French men and women were sent to hospital in 2012 suffering from illness or injuries caused by alcohol abuse.

This represents a 30 percent jump in just three years, and means that alcohol consumption now accounts for twice as many hospitalizations in France as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Perhaps most alarmingly, the report – conducted by the French Society for the Study of Alcohol, and published by Europe 1 radio on Friday – found a staggering 80 percent rise in short-stay hospital visits, mainly for alcohol-related accidents and falls, and especially among young men and women.

“We’re seeing more and more young people in the emergency room, seriously drunk, who stay for a day or two to sober up,” said Dr. Damien Labarrière, a gastroenterologist in the city of Orléans, south of Paris.

“There has also been an increase in severe health problems among young people, especially diseases of the liver and pancreas. We’re seeing cirrhosis now in people as young as 25 years of age,” Labarrière added.

What is to blame for this explosive rise in alcohol abuse? Co-author of the study, Prof. Michel Reyaud sees perceptions and norms surrounding drinking as the biggest contributing factors for the rise in alcohol-induced comas, hepatitis and psychiatric problems.

“Getting plastered on a night out has become a real badge of honour for many of our young people, especially young women, which is particularly disturbing,” he told Europe 1.

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“And drinking early in life only produces more and more dependence later on,” he added.

Friday's revelations come just two weeks after a report which found that 134 people died in France every day, from alcohol-related illnesses and incidents.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

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