The number of young women admitted to hospitals after binge drinking in Australia has doubled in the last 10 years, a new study has found.
The study, conducted by Michael Livingston, a researcher at the Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre in Melbourne, suggested that there was an immediate need for public health interventions such as increased alcohol taxation.
The reports showed that the rate of alcohol-induced hospital admissions for Victorian males and females aged between 16 and 24 had increased substantially over eight years.
Livingston found that the sharpest increase was for females aged 18 to 24 where the rate jumped from six people per 10,000 in 1998-99 to 14.6 in 2005-06. About half were diagnosed with acute intoxication.
He said that three separate studies cited in his research indicated 'a clear increasing trend in alcohol-related harm among young people'.
"These trends are deeply concerning, suggesting that increasing numbers of young people are experiencing severe alcohol-related problems such as hospitalization," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him, as saying.
Livingston said that there had been little or no change in the rates of alcohol-induced hospital admissions for those aged between 12 and 15.
He suggested increased alcohol taxes and reduced trading hours for liquor outlets as the best methods to reduce alcohol-related harm.
But in terms of the rate of risky drinking among young people generally, the report showed no clear trend.
Livingston's analysis of four separate studies of teenage drinking concluded that there was 'almost no notable increases in risky drinking', with only one study showing a jump - and only for 2002 to 2003.
This might have been due to flaws in the data in that it did not reflect 'extreme' levels of drinking.
Michael Moore, chief executive of the Public Health Association of Australia, has called for a complete ban on alcohol advertising and for drinks with higher alcohol content to attract a higher tax.
The study is published in the Australian And New Zealand Journal Of Public Health.