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May 31, 2007

Alcohol-Related Traffic Deaths Among Teens Spike During Prom and Graduation Season

National Expert Available to Discuss Drunk Driving Among Teens

WHAT:  Prom and graduation are around the corner and as teens embark on this new and exciting time in their lives, they are especially prone to the risks of drinking and driving. Motor vehicle crashes remain the number one cause of death among youth ages 15-20 with nearly 1/3 of traffic accidents alcohol-related. In fact, drivers between 15 and 20 years old are more often involved in alcohol-related crashes than any other age group.  And, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one third of youth under age 21 killed in alcohol-related fatalities die during the months of April, May and June.

Dr. Larry Gentilello has published key studies documenting the extraordinarily high contribution of drug and alcohol abuse to life-threatening injury and the potentially powerful impact of hospital-based trauma center interventions to reduce such problems. His research has also identified laws in many states that discourage screening and counseling for alcohol and drug problems in the emergency room and trauma center. He will be available to discuss:

  • The impact of teen drunk driving.  The rate of alcohol-related fatal crashes among drivers between 16 and 20 years old is more than twice the rate for drivers 21 and older.
  • How parents can help their teenagers avoid the consequences of drunk driving.
  • Laws on the books in 31 states that allow drunk drivers to repeat their destructive behavior because they discourage screening and counseling for alcohol problems when patients are seen in the emergency room.
  • A new study by Columbia University, which shows that youth binge drinking is reaching epidemic levels -- and that binge-drinking college students are more likely to drink and drive.  Drunk driving in this group has also increased, as more than half of all college students binge drink.  Most of them began drinking in their teen years.  Deaths from alcohol-related accidents have risen an alarming 6% in college students.
  • Anecdotes from Dr. Gentilello’s experience in one the nation’s largest trauma centers. These anecdotes can put a human face on the impact of alcohol and drugs in traffic accidents.

WHO:    Larry M. Gentilello, M.D., F.A.C.S.

  • Chairman of the Division of Burns, Trauma and Critical Care at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, one of the nation’s busiest trauma centers
  • Member of the American College of Surgeons Trauma Prevention Committee
  • Recipient of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Innovators Combating Substance Abuse Award (www.InnovatorsAwards.org)
  • Author of numerous publications on topics that include alcohol screening in the emergency department and trauma center and reducing risky adolescent behavior
  • Featured prominently in the landmark HBO documentary, Addiction

SPONSOR: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Innovators Combating Substance Abuse Awards Program at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

WHEN:    Satellite interviews with Dr. Gentilello are available on Thursday, May 31st from 6:30-11:30am ET

**To schedule an interview, please contact Kelly Peterson at 212-539-3244 or kellyp@mbooth.com

Copyright 2004 The Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore, Maryland.
All rights reserved. Last Updated January 15, 2010

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