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Underage Drinking Emergency Room Visits Rise Over Holiday

Daily visits related to underage drinking nearly doubled during July Fourth weekend in 2008

FRIDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- Emergency department visits for underage drinking almost doubled during the Fourth of July weekend in 2008, according to a new study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) estimates that underage drinking-related emergency department visits were 87 percent higher over the Fourth of July weekend in 2008 than they were on a average July 2008 day.

While on an average July day in the United States during 2008 there were 502 emergency department visits involving underage alcohol use, the number of daily emergency department visits increased to 938 over the Fourth of July weekend, according to the report.

"Underage drinking is not a harmless right of passage. It has far-reaching consequences. In addition to emergency department visits, injuries, arrests, and embarrassment, 5,000 deaths in people under age 21 are linked to alcohol each year," SAMHSA administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., said in a statement. "Parents are a leading influence in their children's decision to avoid alcohol. To help parents make the tough job of raising children a little easier, SAMHSA provides an online action plan to help parents talk with their children about expectations regarding alcohol use."

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