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SAMHSA News - January/February 2006, Volume 14, Number 1

Underage Drinkers Seek Help in Emergency Rooms

A new report released from SAMHSA's Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) estimates that 142,701 alcohol-related emergency room visits to U.S. hospitals were made by individuals age 12 to 20 during 2004.

DAWN collects data—from a national sample of hospitals—on emergency department (ED) visits related to recent drug use. The report shows nearly half (42 percent) of drug-related ED visits among patients age 12 to 20 involved alcohol.

In addition, patients age 18 to 20 were approximately three times as likely as patients age 12 to 17 to have an alcohol-related ED visit, with this difference by age similar whether the visit was for alcohol alone or for alcohol with other drugs.

Visits involving alcohol with other drugs (19 percent) were nearly two times as likely to result in admission to the hospital for inpatient care when compared to visits involving alcohol alone (10 percent).

Among admissions, the visits involving alcohol with other drugs were most likely to require intensive or critical care (35 percent), but nearly one in five (19 percent) were admitted to psychiatric units.

ED Visit Rates for Alcohol Only and Alcohol with Other Drug(s)

chart from 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows statistics on emergency department visits for alcohol only and alcohol with other drugs - click to view text only version
Rate per 100,000 population
Source: Drug Abuse Warning Network, Office of Applied Studies, SAMHSA, 2004.

The report, Emergency Department Visits Involving Underage Drinking, is available from SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at P.O. Box 2345, Rockville, MD 20847-2345. Telephone: 1 (800) 729-6686 (English and Spanish) or 1 (800) 487-4889 (TDD). Online, the report is available on the SAMHSA Web site at dawninfo.samhsa.gov/
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SAMHSA News Information

SAMHSA News - January/February 2006, Volume 14, Number 1

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