Number of children with alcohol poisoning dropped during lockdowns

10 September 2021

The number of children admitted with alcohol poisoning has fallen sharply during the two lockdowns, according to research by pediatrician Nico van der Lely and PhD student Louise Pigeaud. The results are published in The Journal of Adolescent Health.

The number of monthly admissions for alcohol poisoning to the 12 hospitals with an alcohol outpatient clinic for young patients, fell by 70% during the first lockdown (mid-March 2020 – end of May 2020), increased when the corona measures were released afterwards, but fell again during the second lockdown (mid-October 2020 – end-December 2020)

Van der Lely says that the decrease can probably be explained by the fact that young people had less access to alcohol due to the closure of catering venues and sports clubs. "They were kind of caged up," said Van der Lely in the NOS Radio 1 Journaal. "In addition, their parents often sat next to them at the kitchen table, because they were working at home. So there was no peer pressure and supervision was increased."

After the first lockdown, the number of alcohol poisonings among minors increased again. "There was a huge rebound effect and we are seeing that again. I saw four children in my outpatient clinic yesterday and three more today, as if it was 2018 again."

What to do? "As long as 15-year-olds in the Westland get beer after football training, as long as third graders on a school trip to London get Guinness from the teacher, as long as Murray poses with a beer, little progress will be made." He can address young people and their parents, as long as the world around them does not change, it is carrying water to the sea, he wants to say.



Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP
P.O. Box 9769
3506 GT Utrecht
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30-6565041
F: +31 (0)30-6565043