Teen alcohol abuse, and binge drinking among all ages, are big problems but a new report by the American College of Emergency Physicians show that sending text messages to the individual after they have had an Emergency Room visit can be beneficial and help lower the risk of binge drinking and teen alcohol abuse. Researchers found that adolescents and young adults who were seen in the ER and who had a positive history for alcohol abuse were more than 50% less likely to engage in dangerous drinking when they received follow up text messages the next day.
According to University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine physician Dr. Brian Suffoletto “Each day in the U.S., more than 50,000 adults ages 18 to 24 visit ERs and up to half have hazardous alcohol use patterns. More than a third of them report alcohol abuse or dependence. The emergency department provides a unique setting to screen young adults for drinking problems and to engage with them via their preferred mode of communication to reduce future use.” Dr. Suffoletto went on to say “Illicit drugs and opiates grab all the headlines, but alcohol remains the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. If we can intervene in a meaningful way in the health and habits of people when they are young, we could make a real dent in that tragic statistic. Alcohol may bring them to the ER, but we can do our part to keep them from becoming repeat visitors.” The report and underlying study was published in the online version of the Annals of Emergency Medicine.