Study finds sharp rise in ER visits during Lollapalooza

- It’s a sobering reality to the upcoming Lollapalooza music festival. Chicago area ER’s are going to be busy dealing with an influx of intoxicated teens.

A new study offers some disturbing insights into exactly who's getting into trouble, before and after leaving the concert.

There’s a new dramatic simulation designed to better prepare young ER doctors for what they can expect during the upcoming Lollapalooza music festival. A new study out of Lurie Children's Hospital finds a huge spike in the number of intoxicated teens who wind up in ER’s throughout the city.

"It is way more than any other weekend in the city, more than St. Patrick's day, more than Pitchfork last weekend, more than New Year's weekend more than Halloween, more than all the other weekends, festivals, holiday weekends you can name,” said Dr. Robert Tanz.

In fact, the study found the number of hospitalizations during Lollapalooza is nine to eleven times more than at any other time of the year, and for many teens, the upcoming music festival will be there first encounter with alcohol.

"The scariest part is that a lot of times kids are experimenting trying alcohol for the first time trying other substances for the first time, often in not the safest situations and this can lead to disastrous consequences,” said Dr. Zaidi Hashem.

The study finds most teens who land in ER’s during Lollapalooza are 16 to 18 years old, and many have blood alcohol levels higher than .08, with some even approaching alcohol poisoning.

Researchers also found that the majority of teens who will be hospitalized during the music festival are white suburban females. Doctors say the key to cutting down the surge in underage drinking is education.

"We love lollapalooza in Chicago, it's one of the best events we have, we love music here and we want our kids to have fun, but there's a safe way to do it without needing to be hospitalized,” said Dr. Nina Alfieri.

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