Alcohol-related deaths spike New Year's

Dec. 31, 2011 at 12:24 AM
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NASHVILLE, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Alcohol-related injuries and deaths typically spike on New Year's Eve and U.S. hospital emergency rooms brace for an influx of patients, doctors say.

Dr. Corey Slovis, chairman of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a Level 1 Trauma Center, said the worst injuries are typically associated with drunken driving, but emergency departments also see injuries from falling while intoxicated, resulting in broken bones or head injuries.

Alcohol overdoses are common, particularly among those under the legal drinking age, Slovis said.

"We see a number of patients who consume too much alcohol on New Year's Eve, putting themselves and others at risk," Slovis said in a statement. "Your celebration can quickly turn tragic when too much alcohol is involved."

Slovis said many alcohol-related injuries are preventable and suggests:

-- Leave your keys with someone so you won't be tempted to drive while under the influence of alcohol.

-- Have a clear plan to get children home safely if they're likely to be around where alcohol is being served.

-- Don't let your friends leave your residence intoxicated.

-- Typically, too much alcohol for men equals more than three drinks within the first hour, then more than one subsequent drink per hour. For women, too much is typically equal to two or three drinks within the first hour, followed by more than one drink per hour thereafter.

-- Coffee or cold showers won't "cure" intoxication. Time is the only thing that will sober a person.

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