A 20-year veteran of the ambulance service, paramedic Alan Eade attends incidents every week involving young people affected by drugs or alcohol.
Around midnight last night we were called to help a 14–year–old boy on the city streets. He and some other teenagers did a snatch-and-run at a bottle shop. He consumed quite a bit of alcohol in a short space of time and became intoxicated. Police saw him and called an ambulance.
He wasn’t life-threateningly unwell and he hadn’t run away from home either but he was taken to a children’s hospital where he could safely sleep off the alcohol and be supervised while he recovered. Since I began this job alcohol has always been present but it was unusual in the under–14s. Now we see children in single-digit years drinking alcohol on a regular basis. It’s more prevalent in a wider group of young people.