A new study of emergency department patients in 18 countries, made available online today by the scientific journal Addiction, shows that the risk of injury caused by acute alcohol consumption is higher for women compared with men. While the risk of injury is similar for both men and women up to three 'standard' drinks (containing 16 ml or 12.8 g of pure ethanol), the risk then increases more rapidly for women, becoming twice the risk to men around 15 drinks and three times the risk to men around 30 drinks. In this study the drinks were reportedly consumed within six hours prior to injury.
The risk of violence-rated injury is consistently larger than the risk of other types of injuries and has a steeper dose-response relationship than other types of injuries, meaning the risk of injury from violence increases more rapidly as the volume of alcohol consumed increases.
The 'standard' drink used in this study equals less than a 350 ml glass of 5% ABV beer, a 150 ml glass of 12% ABV wine, or a 44 ml glass of 80-proof spirit, each of which contains approximately 18 ml of pure ethanol. In this study, one 750-ml bottle of 12% wine equals 5.6 drinks.
The study looked at over 13,000 injured patients from Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana, India, Ireland, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Support for this paper was provided by a grant (AA R01 AA013750) from the U.S. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Cherpitel C, Ye Y, Bond J, Borges G, Monteiro M. Relative risk of injury from acute alcohol consumption: modeling the dose-response relationship in emergency department data from 18 countries. Addiction, 109: doi: 10.1111/add.12755
This paper is free to download for one month after publication from the Wiley Online Library:
Media seeking interviews with lead author Dr Cheryl J. Cherpitel may contact her at the Alcohol Research Group, a program of the Public Health Institute, (California, USA) by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or telephone (1 510-597-3453).
Addiction is a monthly international scientific journal publishing peer-reviewed research reports on alcohol, illicit drugs, tobacco, and gambling as well as editorials and other debate pieces. Owned by the Society for the Study of Addiction, it has been in continuous publication since 1884. Addiction is the number one journal in the 2013 ISI Journal Citation Reports Ranking in the Substance Abuse Category (Social Science Edition). Membership to the Society for the Study of Addiction is £85 and includes an annual subscription to Addiction.