Reinier de Graaf hospital, Antwerp University Hospital (UZA) and University of Antwerp to launch first Flemish outpatient alcohol clinics
In January 2021 a ‘Youth and Alcohol’ Chair was started at the University of Antwerp. The goal? To better map and reduce excessive alcohol consumption among young people. Funding for this Chair comes from the Netherlands, where the so-called outpatient alcohol clinics have more than proved their worth.
Research by the Intermutualist Agency (IMA), the UZA and the University of Antwerp shows that in 2018 more than 2,200 adolescents were admitted to emergency rooms in Belgium with alcohol poisoning. Other research shows that one in three 17- and 18-year-olds binge-drink at least once a month.
“Alcohol consumption not only leads to health damage in the short term, but also in the longer term”,
Explains prof. Guido Van Hal (UAntwerp). “Damage and impaired brain development cause a loss of intellectual capital, and also have a negative effect on emotional and impulse control. So it not only greatly impacts the drinking adolescents themselves, but the entire society also suffers.”
Almost zero relapse The Netherlands is a long way ahead of Flanders in tackling alcohol abuse among young people. Its driving force is paediatrician Nico van der Lely, connected to the Delft Reinier de Graaf hospital and guest lecturer at the University of Antwerp. In 2010, he founded the Stichting Jeugd en Alcohol (www.stichtingjeugdenalcohol.nl). This Youth and Alcohol Foundation researches the theme, provides information and raises awareness, and has since set up twelve alcohol clinics in Dutch hospitals.
“In our outpatient clinics we treat young people with alcohol intoxication, followed by a special programme to prevent future abuse,” van der Lely explained, underlining that “it is crucial to start working with the adolescent immediately in the ‘golden hour’, i.e. the first hour after they have slept it off. We also involve the parents intensively, and our approach works: where we often used to see the same adolescents entering the emergency room drunk, the relapse has now been reduced to virtually zero.”
Outpatient alcohol clinic at UZA
The Dutch approach is now being followed in Flanders. In January 2021, the ‘Reinier de Graaf Chair Youth and Alcohol’ started at the University of Antwerp, financed by the Delft hospital.
Van der Lely and Van Hal will become holders of the chair, and professors Jozef De Dooy and Stijn Verhulst, both associated with UZA and the University of Antwerp, will also put their shoulders to the wheel.
The aim of the chair is to better map out alcohol abuse among young people in Flanders. Van Hal: “There is still a lot of work to do in our country, both in terms of registration and reduction of relapse rate. A PhD student will focus, among other things, on a more efficient registration system, and work on prevention and awareness-raising. Within the chair, a pilot project for the first Flemish outpatient alcohol clinic, at the UZA, will also be implemented.”
- Chair holders: Dr. N. van der Lely and titular holders from UAntwerp: Prof. Dr. Guido Van Hal, Prof. Dr. Jozef De Dooy (UZA/UAntwerp) and prof. Stijn Verhulst (UZA/UAntwerp)
- Faculty: Medicine and Health Sciences
- Active: since 2021
- Partner: Reinier de Graaf
Support this chair
This chair is open to free donations. Here’s how you can contribute.
Step 1 - Donation
There are two ways to donate:
- By bank transfer to bank account number BE42 7310 4624 7854 in the name of 'Universiteit Antwerpen'. Be sure to mention 'fiscaal attest' (tax certificate) and your preferred destination, in this case: 'Youth and alcohol', in the communication field.
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Step 2 - Donation form
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1. digitally: email it to firstname.lastname@example.org ( a scan or photo are sufficient)
2. by post: Universiteitsfonds Antwerpen - Middelheimlaan 1 M.A.223 - 2020 Antwerpen