Demographic and substance use factors related to violent and accidental injuries: results from an emergency room study

Drug Alcohol Depend. 1999 Jun 1;55(1-2):53-61. doi: 10.1016/s0376-8716(98)00184-7.


Objective: The primary goal of this study was to identify demographic and substance use factors associated with violent injuries, accidental injuries, and medical conditions or illnesses (non-injured).

Method: Data were examined from a sample of 1701 admissions to emergency rooms at two Canadian hospitals. These patients were interviewed and provided urine samples to detect the presence of drug metabolites for alcohol, THC, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, morphine, and codeine.

Results: Those with violent injuries were significantly (P<0.0001) more likely to be male and have lower incomes compared with both the accidental injury and non-injury groups. About 37% of violent injuries occurred at a bar or restaurant, which was significantly more than 3% for accidental injuries and 2% for non-injuries (P<0.00001). The violent injury group was significantly more likely than the other two groups to report feeling the effects of alcohol at the time of the injury and to report negative consequences of alcohol use (P<0.00001). Furthermore, about 42% of those with violent injuries had a blood alcohol level (BAL) over 80 mg% compared to only 4% with accidental injuries (P<0.00001) and 2% of non-injuries (P<0.00001). In terms of drug tests for other substances, the violent injury group was significantly more likely to test positive for benzodiazepines than the accidental injury group (P<0.01) while all between group comparisons for other drugs were not significant.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Benzodiazepines / urine
  • Canada
  • Demography
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Female
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders / blood
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / urine
  • Violence*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / rehabilitation


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Ethanol