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New data More than 900 children treated for drug and alcohol-related illnesses last year

Newstalk revealed that, of those hospitalised, nearly two thirds of these children were girls

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More than 900 children were treated in hospital for drug and alcohol-related illnesses last year, new data has shown.

New figures released to Newstalk via the Freedom of Information Act show that among these illnesses were newborn children affected by their mothers’ use of drugs of alcohol, mental health disorders due to substance misuse, and drug or alcohol poisoning.

A total of 914 children were treated for these conditions in 2020, a decrease from 1,026 in 2019.

Newstalk revealed that, of those hospitalised, nearly two thirds of these children were girls.

686 children were aged between 10 to 17 years old and 228 of those treated were under nine years old.

While the figures are spread throughout the country, only 28pc were treated in children’s hospitals.

However, Dr Ciara Martin - a consultant paediatrician with Children’s Health Ireland – said that the issue is worse than the figures suggest.

Speaking to Newstalk, she said: “It’s probably the tip of an iceberg.

“I think we have a lot more 10 to 17-year-olds drinking outside and in our communities. The ones who get into trouble are the ones who come into us in hospital.

“This is a very small number, and doesn’t represent what’s happening outside.”

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