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Youth Alcohol-Related ER Visits Spike on New Year’s Day

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Emergency room (ER) visits related to underage drinking shot up over 250 percent on New Year’s Day 2009, according to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) press release issued Dec. 30.

The data, drawn from the agency’s 2009 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report, showed an estimated 1,980 cases of ER visits linked to underage drinking on New Year’s Day. That number was 263 percent higher than the annual average of 546 visits per day. It was also much higher than the estimated 942 visits related to teen drinking on the Fourth of July, and 676 visits on Memorial Day.

“This stunning increase in underage drinking related emergency room visits on New Year’s Day should be a wake-up call to parents, community leaders and all caring adults about the potential risks our young people face for alcohol-related accidents, injuries and death during this time of year,” said Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., administrator of SAMHSA.

A one-page report, “Emergency Department Visits for Underage Drinking Increase on New Year’s Day,” was published in Data Spotlight (PDF) on Dec. 30, 2010, by SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.

A longer report, “Highlights of the 2009 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Findings on Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits,” appeared in The DAWN Report (PDF) on Dec. 28, 2010.

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