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ACH Injury Prevention Center Encourages Families to Discuss Dangers of Underage Drinking with Teens

LITTLE ROCK, AR. (April 26, 2012) - Each year in the United States, more than 6,500 people under the age of 21 die from injuries involving underage drinking, while thousands more are hurt as a result. Almost 2,400 youth under 21 die in drinking and driving crashes and nearly 2,400 die from other injuries including falls and fires in which alcohol was a contributing factor. In addition, 1,500 die in alcohol-related homicides, 300 commit suicide and many others overdose on alcohol every year.

The purpose of Alcohol Awareness Month is to increase public awareness and understanding and to encourage communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. Through the rest of April, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) is highlighting the important public health issue of underage drinking, a problem with devastating individual, family and community consequences.

Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous - both to these minors and to society - and it is associated with traffic fatalities, violence, unsafe sex, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose and other problem behaviors. Locally, the Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) Injury Prevention Center (IPC), in cooperation with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, recently conducted a town hall meeting at Sylvan Hills High School, where guest speakers talked to students about underage drinking and teen driving safety.

The IPC also staged a mock sobriety checkpoint at the school prior to the town hall meeting to raise awareness of drinking and driving and the Arkansas Graduated Driver Licensing Law. The well-attended session was a partnership between the IPC and the Sherwood Police Department.

Some important facts about underage drinking:

  • Alcohol is the No. 1 drug of choice for America's young people - more than tobacco or illicit drugs.
  • Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.
  • Each day, 7,000 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink.
  • Underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually. (NCADD)

Regrettably, it remains relatively easy for teenagers to obtain alcohol and despite serious concerns, kids are flooded with media messages that glamorize alcohol use, increasing the likelihood that they will drink alcohol. In fact, underage drinking accounts for 16 percent of all alcohol sales.

For more information about NCADD, underage drinking, NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month and NCADD Alcohol-Free Weekend, visit the NCADD website at: ncadd.org.

For more information about the Arkansas Children's Hospital Injury Prevention Center, call (866) 611-3445 or email injuryprevention@archildrens.org.

 

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) is the leading advocacy organization in the world addressing alcoholism and drug dependence. Since 1944, NCADD has raised public awareness about addiction throughout the United States and increasingly across the global community. NCADD's founder, Marty Mann, believed alcoholism was a disease that could be treated and should be treated like a public health problem. Marty advocated this belief strongly to the medical and scientific community. NCADD and its Affiliate Network is a voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting the Nation's #1 health problem - alcoholism, drug addiction and the devastating consequences of alcohol and other drugs on individuals, families and communities.

The Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children's Hospital is the only multi-faceted injury prevention program in Arkansas whose mission is to reduce injury, death and disability in Arkansas through service, education, innovative research and advocacy. Key areas of focus include motor vehicle, recreational, and home safety and intentional injury. The center's team of experts works with partners throughout the state to educate families on effective prevention strategies, reinforcing the fact that It Only Takes a Moment - it only takes only a moment to lose your life due to an injury, but it also only takes a moment to practice safety and prevention. For more information on the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children's Hospital, call (501) 364-3400 or visit http://www.archildrens.org/injury_prevention.

Arkansas Children's Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children. The campus is celebrating 100 years of providing Care, Love and Hope in 2012. Over the past century, ACH has grown to span 29 city blocks and house 316 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children's health and development. For more information, visit www.archildrens.org .

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