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Substance Abuse

ER Visits Due to Underage Drinking Up on New Year’s Day

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It certainly comes as no surprise; a federal government study has concluded that the number of ER visits caused by underage drinking increase by two and a half times on New Year’s Day, according to a feature on the Los Angeles Times.

underage drinkingThe study was conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA director Pamela Hyde was quoted in the feature: “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.”

The study was based on the 2009 Drug Abuse Warning Network report of SAMHSA, and indicated that there were almost 2,000 ER visits prompted by underage drinking on New Year’s Day 2009, as opposed to 546 on an average day of the year. The statistics showed a 263 percent increase in such incidents on New Year’s Day.

Kenneth Warren, acting director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said: “This very troubling finding is in line with what we already know about the increase in alcohol-related problems during the winter holidays… For example, during Christmas and New Year’s, two to three times more people die in alcohol-related crashes than during comparable periods the rest of the year. And 40 percent of traffic fatalities during these holidays involve a driver who is alcohol-impaired, compared to 28 percent for the rest of December.”

Los Angeles Health Screening