Hospitalization for Underage Drinkers in the United States



      Underage drinking is common in the United States. This article presents nationally representative data on hospitalizations for alcohol use disorder (AUD) in youth.


      Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database, discharge records of individuals between 15 and 20 years diagnosed with AUD were identified. Incidence rates of these hospitalizations were calculated based on population estimates from the US Census Bureau.


      In 2008, there were 699,506 nonobstetric discharges in 15- to 20-year-olds, of which 39,619 (5.6%) had an AUD diagnosis with or without an injury diagnosis. The overall annual incidence of AUD hospitalization was 18.3 per 10,000 boys and 12.3 per 10,000 girls. Native American boys in the Midwest had the highest incidence (101 per 10,000), and Asian/Pacific Islander girls in the South had the lowest (2 per 10,000). The estimated total charges for these hospitalizations were $755 million in 2008.


      Hospitalization care for underage drinking is common, especially in certain race and in certain geographic regions and is associated with a substantial health care expenditure.


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