Cite this article

NIDA. (2011, April 21). Risky Behavior Leads to Emergency Rooms. Retrieved from

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Sara Bellum
April 21 2011
Photo of a young man drinking and driving

When you ask friends what they’re going to do for homecoming or the prom or graduation, spending the night in the local emergency room probably isn’t on their list. Unfortunately, for many young people, alcohol may change their plans.

According to a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), emergency rooms get 546 underage drinking-related emergency room visits every day—many more on special celebration days. Emergency room visits can cost $1,000 or more—not including the cost of an ambulance or a hospital stay if you have to be admitted to the hospital. If a drinker in the ER is under 18, the hospital has to call their parents or guardians. To make matters worse, minors can also get into legal trouble since underage drinking is against the law.

Not to pile on, BUT people who drink before their 21st birthday are more likely to use drugs, get bad grades, become a victim of a violent or sexual crime, and get addicted to alcohol. In fact, more than 4 in 10 people who begin drinking before age 15 eventually become alcoholic.

Better to celebrate special events in a way you’ll be glad to remember the next morning!