Underage Drinking Hospital Visits Nearly Double over the 4th of July Weekend

There’s not much more to mention here beyond the fact that underage drinking leads a lot of young people into contact with the criminal justice system.  All of us with law enforcement experience came into contact with underage drinkers; it’s not unusual for marijuana use to be connected.  The typical case involves stupidity; loud noise or threatening behavior that bothers someone who calls the police.  Acts of violence connected with alcohol are not unusual.

As said often throughout this site, budget cuts are greatly hampering the criminal justice system’s ability to operate in some areas. Police officers have no choice but to intervene. If those complaining are vocal enough, arrests are made thus taking time away from serious law enforcement.

If people are concerned about crime control, they will send a very strong message to their kids; alcohol use is a serious issue and the consequences can be fatal or lead to your introduction to the justice system (interestingly enough, the same message needs to be sent to many adults).

If you’re serious about crime control, and you want local police to be available for things that matter (robberies, auto accidents with injury, spouse abuse, missing children) control your kids, control yourselves.  The best crime prevention is when people control themselves and their associates.

Full disclosure: we are guilty of the same acts when we were young. Police officers took us home to gauge the reactions of parents.  When our parents expressed outrage towards our behaviors, police officers released us to parental custody. The punishment (including more than a couple whacks of our posteriors) was harsh enough to convince us that stupid acts were probably not in our best interest.

Crime in America.Net

SAMHSA press release:

Hospital emergency department visits involving underage drinking nearly double during the Fourth of July Holiday weekend according to a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The study reveals that daily underage drinking-related visits to hospital emergency departments are 87 percent higher during the Fourth of July weekend than they are on an average day in July. The report estimates that on an average day in July, there are 502 hospital emergency department visits involving underage alcohol use. For the three day Fourth of July weekend however, the number of daily hospital emergency department visits jumps to 938.

“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,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “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.”

The study was developed as part of the agency’s strategic initiative on data, outcomes, and quality – an effort to inform policy makers and service providers on the nature and scope of behavioral health issues. It is based on SAMHSA’s 2008 Drug Alert Warning Network (DAWN) report. DAWN is a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related hospital emergency department visits reported throughout the nation.

A copy of the study is available at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/spotlight/Spotlight003UnderageAlcoholUse.pdf.

Information and materials on how to help prevent underage drinking are available at: http://www.underagedrinking.samhsa.gov/.



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