PARENTS of youngsters that repeatedly end up in hospital emergency rooms due to alcohol poisoning could soon face financial penalties.
The new proposal is designed to tackle the lack of care shown by parents of underage drinkers rather than to punish the minors themselves.
“Tolerating or assisting by inaction the repeated excessive consumption of alcohol is a form of abuse toward the minor, because it affects their future abilities,” said Francisco Babín, the government delegate for the National Drugs Plan (PND)
“We must not forget that alcohol kills neurons.”
The ministry is considering the inclusion of financial penalties in its draft Prevention of the Consumption of Alcoholic Drinks by Minors bill, which will be announced in April.
A report being studied by the Health ministry recently revealed that the number of underage drinkers being treated in casualty departments across Spain has more than doubled in the past decade.
“The age of those patients is also decreasing, indicating that recreational drinking of alcohol is starting at a younger age,” wrote Dr Santiago Mintegi, the author of the report.
“Before, it was rare to find a case of alcohol poisoning among minors, but not now. Such cases arrive fairly frequently on a Friday and Saturday night.”