Dutch pediatrician opens clinic for minors with alcohol problems

.- Due to the increase in the abuse of alcohol among kids under the age of 16 in Holland, two specialists in the country will open a youth clinic in December to help young people overcome the problem.

Dr. Nico Van der Lely and child psychologist Mireille de Visser will open the clinic in the city of Delft in order to investigate the causes of alcohol abuse and present healthy alternatives through questionnaires, education and counseling, involving both teenagers and their parents and schools in the process.

The clinic will also research the long-term brain damage alcohol abuse causes to teenagers, such as hypothermia and physical violence.  The project is the result of concern by many pediatricians about the brain damage the problem causes in young people.

In Holland some 500-1000 teens are hospitalized each year due to alcohol abuse.

Dr. Van der Lely explained that kids between 12 and 13 years of age have been hospitalized with a blood alcohol level of .06.  Of these 60% are girls and two-thirds get drunk at home.  In addition, the boys who are hospitalized have often been admitted before.

“At 12 years of age, the brain of a child is not yet developed and the influence of sexual hormones is just beginning to occur,” he noted.  “If it is exposed to a blood alcohol level of .06, which is becoming increasingly more common, the future of that child is clear.  As a pediatrician I must do something about it.”

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