Since 2008, celebrating the Fourth of July has meant enjoying a 3-day weekend. With parades, picnics, and fireworks, the festivities can all too often lead to a trip to the hospital emergency room for underage individuals who have been consuming alcohol.
On an average July day in 2008, there were 502 emergency department (ED) visits involving underage alcohol use across the United States, according to estimates from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). Over the 3-day Fourth of July holiday weekend, however, the number of daily ED visits jumped to 938, an increase of 87 percent. Figure 1 provides some additional details concerning underage alcohol consumption.While all underage alcohol consumption is of concern, consumption that leads to a hospital visit should be of particular concern to adults and to health care professionals. For everyone interested in preventing underage drinking, SAMHSA offers educational and other materials at: http://www.underagedrinking.samhsa.gov/.