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Underage Drinking Emergency Room Visits Rise Over Holiday

Daily emergency room visits 11 percent higher over Memorial Day weekend than an average day

MONDAY, May 31 (HealthDay News) -- Daily underage drinking-related visits to hospital emergency departments are higher over the three-day Memorial Day weekend than on an average day, according to a new study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The latest Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report estimates that underage drinking-related emergency department visits are 11 percent higher over the Memorial Day weekend than on average days. While on an average day there are approximately 519 daily emergency department visits related to underage alcohol use, the number of daily emergency department visits increases to 577 during Memorial day weekend, according to the report.

In addition, on an average day, there are approximately 156 emergency department visits involving underage alcohol use combined with other drugs, and the number increases to 199 during Memorial Day weekend, representing a 27 percent increase.

"Underage drinking poses an enormous public health risk -- approximately 5,000 people die each year from alcohol-related injuries connected to underage drinking," Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., a SAMHSA administrator, said in a statement. "This study highlights the need for parents, families and communities to promote prevention messages and efforts designed to help young people enjoy themselves without engaging in underage drinking or drug use."

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