There has been a tradition of alcohol research concerned with investigating the harm associated with chronic alcohol use. However in Australia during 1996, injury accounted for the 5th highest number of life-years lost through disability, the 3rd highest life-years lost through death and was included as a National Health Priority Area by the Health Minister of Australia (Mathers, Vos and Stevenson, 1999). Alcohol has been identified as one risk factor that contributes to injury. However, aside from alcohol's well documented contribution to road crashes, this issue has not been thoroughly investigated in Australia. This study was designed to gather data from injured patients at a major Emergency Department, regarding alcohol and drug use prior to the occurrence of any injury. There were two specific aims.
1) To quantify the role of alcohol in the causation of acute injury by
- estimating the relative risk of injury associated with consumption of different amounts of alcohol, and
- calculating aetiologic fractions to quantify injuries that could be prevented if alcohol consumption was reduced.
2) To identify the contribution of contextual factors and drinking settings (e.g. location and activity at time of injury, time and quantity of drinking, other drug use) on the association between alcohol and injury.