Home – the most dangerous place to drink alcohol

Published 28 August 2016

Alcohol-related injuries that present to emergency departments are far more likely to happen at home than at pubs and clubs, according to new research by the University of New England.

Professor Kim Usher from the School of Health said the research showed that 36% of alcohol-related injuries happen at home, 13% on the street and just 10% at licensed premises.

“The media would lead you to believe that the majority of injuries happen at licensed venues when in fact the chances of injury is much higher when you are at home,” Prof. Usher said.

“This study shows that the home is a place of danger when drinking. It appears more people especially the young are drinking at home, because it is cheaper than going out. We hope health policy makers are looking at strategies to address this issue, as it is becoming the drinking location of choice and increasingly the site for alcohol-related injuries.”

Researchers used emergency department surveillance data sourced from the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit from 2003 – 2012. The study included city, regional and rural hospitals – 23 hospitals were included.

Over the ten-year period, the number of alcohol-related injuries presented at hospital soared by 138%.

The statistics show injuries are most likely to happen on the weekends at around midnight.

“An injury due to assault is 84% more likely to happen in the home compared to other locations. Of all the alcohol-related injuries, the most frequent body region to sustain an injury was the head, neck or face”.

The report recommends a public health campaign to help reduce alcohol-related injuries in the home.

“The study showed women with alcohol-related injuries were most likely to have sustained that injury in the home than at a licensed venue, with 59% of those injuries REPORTED TO BE the result of domestic violence by a partner.”

Professor Usher says the report is significant as there have been few studies that have focused on alcohol-related injuries in the home, with most of the previous research related to alcohol-related injuries focussing on licensed venues.

The paper “Patterns of ‘at home’ alcohol-related injury presentations to emergency departments” has been published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.