Over 900 children were treated in Irish hospitals for drug and alcohol-related illnesses in 2020 11 months ago

Over 900 children were treated in Irish hospitals for drug and alcohol-related illnesses in 2020

228 of these children were aged less than nine years old.

According to Freedom of Information figures released to Newstalk earlier this week, over 900 children were treated in Irish hospitals for drug and alcohol-related illnesses last year.

Two-thirds of these were girls.

The conditions include drug or alcohol poisoning, a mental health disorder due to substance misuse, and new-born children affected by their mothers' use of drugs or alcohol.

And although this figure is a slight decrease compared to 1026 children in 2019, Dr Ciara Martin - a consultant paediatrician with Children's Health Ireland - says the problem is worse than the figures suggest.

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“It’s probably the tip of an iceberg," Martin explains to Newstalk.

"I think we have a lot more 10 to 17-year-olds drinking outside and in our communities. The ones who get into trouble are the ones who come into us in hospital.

Of those hospitalised last year, 686 children were aged between 10 and 17 - with over twice as many girls as boys.