Emergency Nurses Association has initiated its annual drinking and driving awareness campaign

The Emergency Nurses Association Institute for Injury Prevention/Emergency Nurses CARE (EN CARE) today announced it has initiated its annual drinking and driving awareness campaign in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “You Drink & Drive. You Lose.” mobilization program.

The ENA’s program empowers emergency nurses across the nation to educate parents and teens about the dangers of drinking and driving during the Fourth of July holiday weekend and throughout the year.

According to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), impaired drivers were responsible for more than 17,000 fatalities nationwide last year (one fatality every 30 minutes), 258,000 reported injuries, and an estimated 1.4 million arrests.

“Emergency nurses are often the first health care professionals in emergency departments to treat patients with injuries related to drunk driving crashes,” said Pierre Désy, associate director of the ENA’s Institute for Injury Prevention/Emergency Nurses CARE (EN CARE). “As a result, they provide a unique perspective on the hazards of drinking and driving and are key advocates to promoting safe and healthy lifestyles.”

To help the ENA kick off its campaign, NHTSA awarded the organization with a grant of $83,000 to fund projects aimed at reducing alcohol-related traffic fatalities in America to 11,000 by 2005. The grant will be used among eight states to train emergency nurses as alcohol awareness advocates, and launch key ENA programs that promote increased knowledge and awareness of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse among children, teenagers, and adults.

The states identified by NHTSA for high alcohol-related accident rates: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, and South Dakota.

The ENA’s campaign is being launched in conjunction with the NHTSA’s “You Drink & Drive. You Lose.” mobilization program, June 25 – July 11, 2004. The NHTSA’s campaign targets high-risk populations such as 21-34 year olds, high blood alcohol and repeat offenders, and underage drinkers by increasing public education, expanding public-private partnerships, enacting strong legislation, and promoting highly visible law enforcement.

ENA and EN CARE conduct several additional programs aimed at stemming the incidence of drug and alcohol-related injuries. The Learning to CARE program aims to increase knowledge and awareness of drugs and alcohol among children in grades 3, 4, and 5. Dare to CARE addresses the consequences of underage drinking and safety belt noncompliance to teens and young adults. The ENA’s TAKE CARE initiative promotes safe and healthy lifestyles for older adults.

“The greatest tragedy is that deaths due to drinking and driving are preventable,” Désy said. “ENA is providing emergency nurses with the tools and funding to promote alcohol awareness and address issues of impaired driving through collaborative efforts in their communities.”

For more information on the ENA campaign, visit the ENA’s Institute for Injury Prevention/Emergency Nurses CARE (EN CARE) Web site at www.ena.org/encare.

Media Note: An ENA alcohol awareness fact sheet and brochure on the prevention of drinking and driving among adolescents is available through the ENA’s Institute for Injury Prevention/Emergency Nurses CARE (EN CARE) Web site.

To download the fact sheet, click on the following link: www.ena.org/encare/fact/AlcoholAwareness.PDF


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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