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Drinking Alcohol and the 4th of July can be a Dangerous Combination

CHICAGO, July 2, 2015

Drinking Alcohol and the 4th of July can be a Dangerous CombinationThe 4th of July is a particularly special holiday, as Americans celebrate our country's independence from Great Britain. Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers would like to remind you that drinking too much alcohol and getting behind the controls of a car, motorcycle or boat can cause you to lose your own personal freedoms...or worse.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 4th of July weekend is the deadliest holiday of the year due to alcohol-related traffic accidents. In the past 25 years, 51 percent of all deadly crashes over the 4th of July weekend have been alcohol-related.

But roadways do not present the only peril – waterways warrant similar precautionary measures. Keep in mind that, in a boat, it's not just the alcohol consumption of the driver that raises concern; passengers who are drinking alcohol are more susceptible to injury or death from slipping or falling overboard and drowning.

As a special note of caution to parents, the number of underage people visiting hospital emergency departments nearly doubles over the 4th of July weekend due to drinking alcohol. Dr. John Larson, Corporate Medical Director of Gateway, understands the dangers of underage consumption of alcohol. "The adolescent brain is not yet fully developed and drinking alcohol damages the brain's executive function in kids. Parents who want their children to grow up to realize their full potential should not condone drinking," Dr. Larson explained.

The 4th of July holiday weekend is also good time to remind ourselves of the USDA guidelines for the safe consumption of alcohol. USDA recommendations include men should consume no more than two drinks a day and women no more than one drink per day. A drink is defined as:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer (five percent alcohol)
  • Five ounces of wine (12 percent alcohol)
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, which are 40 percent alcohol by volume

As you prepare to celebrate our country's independence, be sure to plan your alcohol strategy. Here are some tips to help you have a safe holiday weekend:

  • Be aware of your tolerance for alcohol consumption and decide ahead of time to stick to it.
  • At any gathering, make sure there is a designated driver for guests who will be drinking.
  • If you find yourself impaired by too much alcohol consumption, call a taxi, a sober friend or take public transportation to get home safely.

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers wishes you a safe and happy 4th of July!

About Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment

Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: to help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness, that is productive, socially responsible, and healthy. Gateway Foundation is the largest nonprofit treatment provider in the country that specializes in the treatment of substance use disorders, providing treatment for men, women, adolescents, and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders.

Gateway's Community Division has treatment centers located throughout Illinois, including Carbondale, Chicago, Lake County, Fox Valley, Springfield, and the St. Louis Metro East area. These centers offer residential and outpatient treatment services for adults, teens, and adolescents accessed through insurance, state funding, and self-pay.

Gateway's professional clinicians help thousands of individuals successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan that treats the underlying causes of substance abuse—not just addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Learn more about insurance coverage, treatment options, or Gateway's confidential consultation at or call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Reporters and Editors, for more information, please call Jason Stutz at 312-663-1130.