What's Your Poison? Lives Threatened by Binge Drinking IT'S an Epidemic That Kills 10 Times More People Than Heroin. but despite the Warnings, Teesside's Young Adults and Teenagers Are Still Risking Their Health by Binge Drinking. ANGELA RAINEY Investigates

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Byline: ANGELA RAINEY

LIVER disease, cirrhosis, mental health problems and even death by inhaling your own vomit.

These are the risks today's young people are taking by binge drinking.

Many people's sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and grandchildren have at one time drunk to excess.

And when people drink to excess regularly, health professionals class this as binge drinking.

Professor Mike Brambles, consultant gastro-enterologist at James Cook University Hospital, says the situation on Teesside is worrying him, with future health problems stacking up for a generation. He has seen the number of young people suffering from alcohol-related liver problems double in 10 years. "The incidence of liver failure, particularly in young women, is increasing because they are equalling laddish behaviour," he said. "This hedonistic attitude to alcohol is not new. People in the past have stepped up to drinking challenges, downing a bottle of gin and so on.

"But alcohol is a poison and is the most common cause of death by self-poisoning. If you drink enough of it, it will kill you."

Prof Bramble says more should be done by the Government to stem the epidemic.

"The Government should be making it more difficult, to make alcohol less freely available and put the onus on pubs to stop serving people who are already drunk," he said. "Alcohol should be more expensive. Studies have shown that when taxation increases, fewer people buy it."

Many liver conditions do not display symptoms until it is too late for treatment.

An inquest into the death of student Matthew Hepburn, 22, pictured right, highlighted the dangers of binge drinking.

Matthew was found dead after a party at a friend's house on Clairville Road, Middlesbrough, on September 25, 2006. …