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Injuries From Underage Drinking Rise Over Memorial Day Weekend

Rate of ER visits jumps 11% compared to average day, report finds

FRIDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) - Visits to U.S. hospital emergency departments related to underage drinking rise by 11 percent over the Memorial Day weekend versus other days, a new report finds.

The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report also found that people under age 21 who combine alcohol and illegal drugs are 27 percent more likely to visit hospital emergency rooms over the Memorial Day holiday weekend compared to an average day. On an average, there are 199 such visits per day during the holiday weekend vs. 156 visits on other days, the report said.

The DAWN report was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

"Underage drinking poses an enormous public health risk -- approximately 5,000 people die each year from alcohol-related injuries connected to underage drinking," SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in an agency news release. "Moreover, studies have shown that children who begin drinking before age 15 are six times more likely to develop alcohol problems than people who start drinking after they reach age 21."

The SAMSHA report is based on statistics from 2008.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has statistics about young people and drug and alcohol use.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, press release, May 28, 2010

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