Large study links alcohol misuse to subsequent injury risk in young people

   
   
Alcohol-Injury-PR
05 Dec 2017 07:21:31.253

PA277/17

The immediate effects of drinking too much alcohol are obvious, unpleasant and can even be life threatening, but a new study has shown that young people who drink excessively, to the degree that they are admitted into hospital because of it, are also at a much higher risk of sustaining injuries in the following 6 months.

The study by researchers in the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine, funded by the NIHR, found that young people who are admitted into hospital in England because of alcohol are seven times more likely to have an injury that needs a hospital stay in the 6 months after the alcohol-related admission and 15 times more likely to end up in hospital through injury in the first month after the alcohol admission.

It’s the first time the detailed epidemiology of the association between heavy drinking in adolescence and subsequent injury risk after a hospital admission has been described. The NIHR-funded research, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, calls for more to be done to raise awareness of this strong link among both young people and among health professionals.

Click here for full story

The researchers looked at the primary care medical records and hospital admission records of around 120,000 young people aged between 10 and 24 in the 15 year period between 1998 and 2013. Of those, just over 11,000 had been admitted to hospital because of alcohol and the rest had not. 18.9% of the alcohol admission cohort were subsequently admitted to hospital for an injury during the study follow-up period compared to just 2.6% of the others. The most common type of injury was poisoning (e.g.intentional self poisoning ), inanimate mechanical forces (e.g.struck by a falling object) and animate forces (e.g.hit by another person).

Public Health Registrar, Louise Lester, from the University’s Division of Primary Care, said: “We know that dangerous and harmful drinking is on the rise in young people but this is the first detailed evidence of an association between  injury risk in individuals after their alcohol-related hospital admission. We’ve shown that this risk varies by age, sex and socio-ecomomic factors over time and the results will be very valuable to future research to find out why these young people are more likely to sustain serious injuries in the months and even years after their alcohol incident. Interestingly we found this increased risk was highest in females, 17 to 24 year olds and those in the most deprived quintile of the cohort.”

Dr Elizabeth Orton, Public Health Consultant and Associate Professor at the University, said: “Our study raises a red flag for public health research and we hope will lead to better public and professional awareness of the potential subsequent injury risk of alcohol misuse in young people. Current interventions focus on drinking habits rather than preventing specific outcomes related to alcohol. If a young person ends up in hospital because of alcohol there is a good opportunity for health professionals to discuss their drinking behaviour and give them brief advice. This new data will allow the advice to be specifically tailored and include injury prevention to increase the effectiveness of the support offered to young people who find themselves in hospital because of alcohol.”

More research is needed to examine the reasons why the injury risk is so much greater for those admitted to hospital through drinking. In the meantime the researchers say that with the greatest risk of injury in the first month after discharge, evidence-based primary and secondary injury prevention and harm reduction programmes should be implemented by health care providers.

— Ends —

Our academics can now be interviewed for broadcast via our Media Hub, which offers a Globelynx fixed camera and ISDN line facilities at University Park campus. For further information please contact a member of the Communications team on +44 (0)115 951 5798, email mediahub@nottingham.ac.uk or see the Globelynx website for how to register for this service.

For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter

Notes to editors: 

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

The NIHR

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research. 

 Established by the Department of Health, the NIHR:

  • funds high quality research to improve health
  • trains and supports health researchers
  • provides world-class research facilities
  • works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all
  • involves patients and the public at every step

For further information, visit the NIHR website www.nihr.ac.uk

This research was funded by the NIHR School for Primary Care Research (SPCR).

 

Story credits

More information is available from Louise Lester, Public Health Registrar by email louiseelizabeth.lester@nhs.net 
EmmaRayner2

Emma Rayner - Media Relations Manager

Email: emma.rayner@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

Additional resources

No additional resources for this article

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
C Floor, Pope Building (Room C4)
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798
email: communications@nottingham.ac.uk