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Drive Sober and Safe on July 4th

The July 4th weekend is one of the most dangerous holidays for drunk driving accidents each year. During the last 5 years of this holiday celebration, 750 people died from car crashes related to drunk driving. Young drivers under age 21 are at greatest risk for death in alcohol-related car crashes, even though they cannot legally purchase or possess alcohol. During the 2011 July 4th holiday, 52 percent of young (18- to 34-year-old) drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes were legally drunk, meaning their blood alcohol concentration was .08 g/dL or higher.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers a variety of marketing resources to help communities prevent drunk driving. These tools can be downloaded and distributed to fit local needs and help communities partner with other organizations to prevent drunk driving. The following tools are available on the NHTSA website:

  • Banner ads
  • Fact sheets
  • Sample news release
  • Infographics
  • Logos (English and Spanish)
  • Radio ads (:30 and :60 versions)
  • Television ads
  • Web videos

July Is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Communities of color tend to experience greater burden of mental and substance use disorders often due to poorer access to care; inappropriate care; and higher social, environmental, and economic risk factors.”

These disparities can be reflected in rates of underage drinking. An issue of The NSDUH Report found that youth who had experienced a major depressive episode (MDE) were twice as likely to have initiated alcohol use as those who had not experienced an MDE. In 2013, about 1 in 10 youth ages 12 to 17 (10.7 percent) had experienced an MDE.

Although minority youth drink alcohol and binge drink at lower rates than whites, unaddressed or undertreated mental health problems can raise their risk for severe, sometimes lifelong consequences.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, binge drinking among 12- to 20-year-olds in 2013 was reported by:

  • 16.8 percent of Whites;
  • 13.9 percent of American Indians or Alaska Natives;
  • 13.5 percent of Hispanics;
  • 12.1 percent of Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders;
  • 11.1 percent of persons reporting two or more races;
  • 8.4 percent of Blacks; and
  • 7.6 percent of Asians.

More information on Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations is available on the SAMHSA website.

More Youth Begin Drinking During Summer Months

Summer is a time when more youth and teens start drinking alcohol compared to other months of the year. Findings from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 11,000 youth ages 12–17 started using alcohol for the first time during June and July. In contrast, for most other months of the year, an average of between 5,000 and 8,000 youth a day started drinking alcohol for the first time.

Read more about monthly variations in substance use initiation among youth. Download and share this infographic with others to help spread the word about the risks of alcohol initiation among teens during the summer months.