Underage drinking is a major concern across the country and according to a new report, it can be quite costly. Underage drinking hospitalizations cost an estimated $755 million in the United States each year, according to a new study by the Mayo Clinic.

About 40,000 teenagers, ages 15 to 20, were hospitalized in 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, according to Science Daily.

The study found that among U.S. teens:

  • About 18 of every 10,000 teenage males were hospitalized
  • 12 of every 10,000 teenage females were hospitalized
  • The average age of those hospitalized was 18, and 61 percent were male.

Alcohol hospitalizations were highest in the Northeast and Midwest. Traffic accidents, assaults, and fights caused nearly one-fourth of all the cases where alcohol was involved in hospitalization. An estimated $505 million of the cost of hospitalization involved treatment of injuries. “When teenagers drink, they tend to drink excessively, leading to many destructive consequences including motor vehicle accidents, injuries, homicides and suicides,” researcher Terry Schneekloth, MD, said in a news release. “Alcohol use necessitating acute-care hospitalization represents one of the most serious consequences of underage drinking. Harmful alcohol use in adolescence is a harbinger of alcohol abuse in adulthood.” The findings are published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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