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09-08 The prevalence of drinking and drowning among teenagers

The prevalence of drinking and drowning among teenagers

Even as the summer season winds down, many teenagers are planning a plethora of last minute activities to end their time off on a high note. There are a number of recreational options that are popular among adolescents during the summertime, especially swimming, and unfortunately in some cases, underage drinking. When these two activities are combined, the consequences often involve terrible injuries or fatalities.

A 2006 CNN report explored this unfortunate, yet all too common cause of death in areas like Minnesota and Wisconsin. Universities in these states are home to multiple bodies of water, and within a decade, 12 college students have died by drowning after drinking at parties. Incidents like these cause devastation among friends and family. If grieving goes without treatment, these symptoms can lead to more serious psychological disorders.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also compiled important information on unintentional drowning:

  • Compiling all non-boating incidents between 2005 and 2009, there was an average of 3,533 fatal, unintentional drowning cases in the U.S. each year. This ranks it “fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death” in America.
  • For teens and adults:

1. Alcohol is a contributor to 70 percent of deaths related to water recreation

2. Nearly a quarter of all emergency department visits are for intoxicated drowning

3. Approximately one in five boating deaths involves alcohol consumption

Recommendations for adolescents to avoid drowning

In a 2004 academic article titled, “Review of the role of alcohol in drowning associated with recreational aquatic activity,” researchers collected the most referenced prevention strategies against alcohol-related injury while in the water. They include:

  • Establishing public service announcements and school-based programs that detail the dangers of alcohol use and specializing messages that apply to swimming, boating or fishing.
  • Removing or editing advertisements that encourage alcohol consumption while boating or during other water recreation activities.
  • Limiting or prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages at aquatic facilities.
  • Supporting laws that propose regulation of alcohol consumption during aquatic activities.
  • Introducing stricter training, penalties and liabilities for those on private boats while under the influence of alcohol.

If you or a fellow teenager has difficulty limiting alcohol usage, contact Sovereign Health Rancho San Diego for more information on how to prevent injury, death and how to get needed support. Call our helpline or chat with a representative online.

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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