Three-year-old 'was an alcoholic'
A three-year-old child has been treated for alcoholism by staff at an NHS hospital.
The unnamed child, thought to be Britain's youngest alcoholic, was among 13 youngsters aged 12 and under who were diagnosed as alcoholics by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust between 2008 and 2010.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act also showed that the trust admitted more than 70 children aged 13-16 for emergency treatment for alcohol abuse.
The Trust, which runs hospitals in Birmingham, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield, said a further 106 teenagers aged 13 to 16 were treated for addiction to alcohol during the same period.
Health managers declined to give details of the three-year-old's condition due to patient confidentiality regulations.
A spokeswoman for the Trust said: "We treat alcohol abuse very seriously and have specialist teams and experts on hand who are there to treat young patients with alcohol-related problems.
"This enables us to provide the best possible care for our patients."
Commenting on drink-related admissions of children to hospitals, the chief executive of alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware, Chris Sorek, said: "Under-age drinking in the UK needs to be tackled now more than ever.
"Any child requiring hospital treatment for alcohol-related illness is a cause for great concern - not just because of the short-term risks associated with under-age drinking such as accidents, but also the long-term risks such as disrupted brain development."