Mayo Clinic tallies hospital cost of underage drinking ...

  • Blog Post by: Jeremy Olson
  • February 17, 2012 - 10:08 AM

Society pays about $755 million per year to hospitalize U.S. children and teens who suffer illnesses or injuries due to illegal alcohol consumption, Mayo Clinic researchers reported earlier this week in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The rate of alcohol-related hospitalizations among 15- to 20-year-olds was highest in the Midwest, and highest among Native American boys in that region. The study reviewed 699,506 hospital discharges among 15- to 20-year-olds (excluding child birth cases). Shockingly, researchers found that 79 percent of these teens were drunk on arrival to the hospital, and 5.6 percent (39,619) met criteria for an alcohol use disorder, according to a Mayo press release on the study.

 “When teenagers drink, they tend to drink excessively, leading to many destructive consequences including motor vehicle accidents, injuries, homicides and suicides,” said Dr. Terry Scheenkloth, a Mayo addiction expert and psychiatrist. 

More than $500 million in hospital costs were for treatment of injuries, the Mayo study found. There were 107 deaths.
This grim toll of teen alcohol consumption comes despite some good news on teen behaviors. The Minnesota Student Survey shows declines over the past decade in alcohol consumption, binge drinking and drunk driving. In 1992, 80 percent of high school seniors in Minnesota had tried alcohol at least once in the past, according to survey data. That rate dropped to 55.3 percent in 2010.
More on the Mayo study can be found here.


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