An Australian study has shown that over the last few years there has been an increase in young people being hospitalised for 'alcohol-related problems' and researchers say that alcopops is to blame.
In just eight years, hospitals across New South Wales (NSW) have seen a 50 per cent rise in people needing treatment for alcohol-related issues.
The surge is made up mostly of the young, and study also shows how this increase mirrors 'the trend in consumption of ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages', known as alcopops.
"Analysis of routine ED databases can provide a timely insight into the social and epidemiological context of high-risk drinking," News.com.au quoted NSW Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Office director David McGrath and fellow researchers, as saying.
"The rise in alcohol-related presentation among teenagers and young adults bodes poorly for subsequent long-term alcohol use disorders and other risk behaviours and their consequences," he added.
For the study, the researchers reviewed emergency room data from 43 hospitals across NSW over eight years.
They found people attending a hospital with acute alcohol problems increased from 98.7 per 100,000 head of population (6,400 cases) in 2000 to 149.4 per 100,000 (10,382 cases) in 2008.
McGrath said that the major surge occurred from 2005.
"Between 2005 and 2008, the rate of ED presentations for acute alcohol problems rose sharply from around 110 to almost 150 per 100,000 population," he said.
"The largest increase was among 18-24-year-olds (and) notably, in that age group, the rate in women converged with that of men.'
"The... increase in young people, which flattened in 2008, is similar to the trend in consumption of ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages over the same period," he added.
The research has been published in the Medical Journal of Australia.