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July 4 Weekend Dangerous for Underage Boys Who Drink: Report
Date:6/30/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- The number of U.S. teen boys who end up in emergency rooms for drinking-related injuries doubles over the July 4th weekend, federal officials say.

On July 3 and 4, drinking sends a daily average of nearly 1,000 youth under 21 -- two-thirds of them male -- to the ER for problems related to alcohol use, according to a report by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

"When it's a holiday weekend, what we are finding now is that kids, especially young men, are ending up at the emergency room because of alcohol-related problems at almost double as what they would on any other day during July," said Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA's Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.

Of those seen in emergency rooms over the July 4 holiday in 2009, 622 were boys and 304 were girls, according to the report. Although the number of emergency room visits for girls held steady throughout July, the emergency room visits by boys doubled during the July 4th weekend.

Delany said drinking-related injuries are from fights, car accidents and other mishaps. When kids drink, "they are at greater risk for all those activities that can get you hurt," he explained.

The same problem is seen on other holiday weekends, especially New Year's, Delany added.

"Holidays are trigger points. We as a society have really attached alcohol to certain holidays," he said. "July 4th is a big one. New Year's is a big one."

The data for the study is culled from SAMHSA's 2009 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report, a system that monitors drug-related hospital emergency department visits around the country.

"This is a really great opportunity to talk to your kids about what your expectations are for them -- when they are going to be involved in parties or going places -- about their drinking behavior," Delan
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