Saturday, July 02, 2005

4th of July - A Time To Drink?

The Deadliest Holiday In America

The Fourth of July is the nation's deadliest three-day holiday weekend for
drunk driving. More than one-half of American adults have a close family
member who has or has had alcoholism. Approximately 14 million Americans,
about 7.4 percent of the adult population, meet the diagnostic criteria for
alcohol abuse or alcoholism.

Alcohol is the fourth leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 24,
underage drinking costs Americans nearly $53 billion. In the United States,
the average age that kids begin to drink at is 12-years-old. More than 40
percent of individuals who start drinking before the age of 13 will develop
alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.

The gap between alcohol use by boys and girls has closed. Among ninth
graders, girls consume alcohol and binge drink at rates almost equal to
boys. A study of fifth- and sixth-grade students found that those who
demonstrated an awareness of beer ads also held more favorable beliefs
about drinking and intended to drink more frequently when they grew up.

Men who consume more than two alcoholic drinks per day are at increased
risk for cancer, accidents, and violence. Long-term, heavy alcohol use is
the leading cause of illness and death from liver disease in the U.S.
Alcohol is implicated in more than 100,000 deaths annually.

Recent advertising expenditures in the United States for beer, wine, and
liquor combined ($1.4 billion) totaled about 20 times the amount spent on
milk ads ($70.5 million). A total of $910.4 million was spent on beer ads,
$135.2 million on wine ads, and $377 million on liquor ads.

Early drug and alcohol education is vital for our children; they are the
future of this country. If drinking is delayed until age 21, a child's risk
of serious alcohol problems is decreased by 70 percent. To request drug
education personnel to come to your school or group, go to

-A guest editorial

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