Tags: underage | drinking | costly

Underage Drinking Tab: $755 Million

Wednesday, 15 Feb 2012 05:48 PM

Hospitalization for underage drinking costs about $755 million per year, according to a new Mayo Clinic study.
Researchers, writing the online edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health, also found hospitalization was highest in the Northeast and Midwest, lowest in the South, and intermediate in the West – for males and females.
Much of the hospitalization cost ($505 million) involved treatment of injuries, researchers said. A total of 107 of those hospitalized died (0.27 percent). Seventy-three percent of the deaths occurred during a hospitalization for injuries.
The new study found roughly 40,000 youth -- ages 15 to 20 – were hospitalized in 2008, the most recent data available. Nearly 80 percent were drunk when they arrived at the hospital. Many also were diagnosed with alcohol abuse, addiction and drinking-related emotional problems.
"When teenagers drink, they tend to drink excessively, leading to many destructive consequences including motor vehicle accidents, injuries, homicides and suicides," said researcher Dr. Terry Schneekloth, a Mayo Clinic addiction expert and psychiatrist.
Among all U.S. teens, roughly 18 of every 10,000 adolescent males and 12 of every 10,000 females were hospitalized after consuming alcohol in the year studied. In all, 700,000 young people in that age group were hospitalized for various reasons, including non-alcohol-related conditions, in 2008.
Underage drinking is common in the United States: 36 percent of high-school students report having consumed alcohol at least once, although the prevalence of heavy drinking (more than five drinks in a row within the preceding two weeks) is lower (7 percent).

© HealthDay

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Underage drinking costs the nation about $755 million per year in health care expenditures, the Mayo Clinic says.
Wednesday, 15 Feb 2012 05:48 PM
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