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J Stud Alcohol. 2004 May;65(3):297-300.

Alcohol-related emergency department visits among people ages 13 to 25 years.

Author information

1
Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, N.E., Mailstop K63, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA. rfe3@cdc.gov

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Data from a large, nationally representative sample of hospital emergency departments (EDs) were used to assess the prevalence and characteristics of alcohol-related ED visits among people ages 13 to 25 years in the United States.

METHOD:

Emergency department visits recorded in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program were coded for alcohol involvement based on alcohol product codes and abstractions of chart narratives. National estimates and confidence intervals were calculated using SUDAAN statistical software.

RESULTS:

Based on these chart data, in the United States in 2001 there were an estimated 244,331 alcohol-related ED visits among people ages 13 to 25 (3.2% of total visits). Of these, an estimated 119,503 (49%) involved people below the legal drinking age of 21. The number of alcohol-related visits increased throughout adolescence and young adulthood to the age of 21, after which they decreased to levels similar to those seen for 18 to 20 year olds. Alcohol-related visits were most frequent on weekends and among males and were more strongly associated with visits related to assault or self-harm than to visits for unintentional injuries or injuries of unknown intent. In this population, 38% of alcohol-related visits involved no external cause of injury (e.g., drinking to excess only).

CONCLUSIONS:

These data highlight the need for stronger efforts to delay initiation of alcohol use among adolescents as long as possible and to limit access to alcohol for underage drinkers.

PMID:
15222585
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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