Louise Lester, M.P.H. *, Ruth Baker, Ph.D., Carol Coupland, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Orton, Ph.D.
Purpose: The burden of alcohol-attributable disease is a global problem. Young people often present to emergency health-care services with alcohol intoxication but little is known about how best to intervene at that point to improve future health outcomes. This study aimed to assess whether young people with an alcohol-specific hospital admission are at increased risk of injury following
Methods: A cohort study was conducted using a general population of 10- to 24-year-olds identified using primary care medical records with linked hospital admission records between 1998 and 2013. Exposed individuals had an alcohol-specific admission. Unexposed individuals did not and were frequency matched by age (±5 years) and general practice (ratio 10:1). Incidence rates of injury-related hospital admission post discharge were calculated, and hazard ratios (HR) were estimated by Cox regression.
Results: The cohort comprised 11,042 exposed and 110,656 unexposed individuals with 4,944 injury related admissions during follow-up (2,092 in exposed). Injury rates were six times higher in those with a prior alcohol admission (73.92 per 1,000 person-years, 95% confidence interval (CI) 70.82–77.16 vs. 12.36, 11.91–12.81). The risk of an injury admission was highest in the month following an alcohol-specific admission (adjusted HR = 15.62, 95% CI 14.08–17.34), and remained higher compared to those with no previous alcohol-specific admission at 1 year (HR 5.28 (95% CI 4.97–5.60)) and throughout follow-up.
Conclusions: Young people with an alcohol-specific admission are at increased risk of subsequent injury requiring hospitalization, especially immediately post discharge, indicating a need for prompt intervention as soon as alcohol misuse behaviors are identified.
The epidemiology of trauma is such that substance abuse is more often than not an issue that predisposes to trauma.