Underage Men Drink More During Holiday Weekend

Emergency department visits by young men increase over the July fourth weekend

FRIDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- There are an increased number of visits to hospital emergency departments for alcohol-related events over the fourth of July weekend, with young men at a higher risk than women, according to a study published on June 30 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Researchers from SAMSA investigated whether alcohol-related visits to the emergency department among young people increased during the fourth of July weekend. Data on emergency department visits were collected for the weekend of July 3 to 5, 2009, and compared to visits for the month of July 2009.

The investigators found that, during the fourth of July weekend, a daily average of 942 individuals under the legal drinking age (21 years) visited an emergency department due to alcohol use. Of these, two thirds of the visits were made by males. The number of visits by young men ages 12 to 20 increased from a daily average of 304 during the month of July to 622 during the fourth of July weekend; and for young women from 273 to 320.

"This study sheds light on the grim truth that holidays are too often marked by a surge in underage drinking, turning what should be a time of celebration into a time of tragedy," SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a statement.

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