Underage drinking spikes on July 4th

July 1, 2011 at 2:15 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) -- The July Fourth weekend is dangerous for male underage drinkers who are twice as likely to make an alcohol-related visit to emergency rooms, a U.S. study shows.

In a study of data from the 2009 Independence Day weekend, when the holiday fell on a Saturday, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found there was a daily average of 622 ER visits July 3-5 by males related to underage drinking compared with a typical weekend average of 304, USA Today reported Friday.

The numbers include both visits because of alcohol itself, such as excessive drinking, and accidents and incidents where alcohol played a factor, said Peter Delany, director of the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at SAMHSA.

Spikes in ER visits happen when students are not in school and the holiday is observed on a weekend, and Independence Day 2011 fits all those criteria, the study said.

At holiday events where alcohol may be present, it's important to take action to keep alcohol out of underage hands, Delany said.

"If the parents aren't going to be there monitoring, make sure who's monitoring access," Delany said.

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