Alcohol intoxication in the context of major public holidays, sporting and social events: a time-series analysis in Melbourne, Australia, 2000-2009

Addiction. 2013 Apr;108(4):701-9. doi: 10.1111/add.12041. Epub 2012 Dec 5.


Aims: To assess the relationship between ambulance attendances, emergency department (ED) presentations and hospital admissions for acute alcohol intoxication and the timing of public holidays, sporting and social events.

Design: Time-series analysis was used to explore trends in intoxication in the context of major events.

Setting: Population of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia between 2000 and 2009.

Participants: All patients attended by ambulance, presenting to hospital EDs, or admitted to hospital who were classified as acutely alcohol intoxicated.

Measurement: Analysis of daily numbers of presentations for acute alcohol intoxication associated with major events were undertaken, including lead and lag effects. Analyses controlled for day of week and month of year to address temporal and seasonal variations.

Findings: Alcohol intoxication presentations were significantly elevated the day before all public holidays, with intoxication cases on the day of public holidays only higher on New Year's Day (ambulance 6.57, 95% confidence intervals (CI): 3.4-9.74; ED 3.34, 95% CI: 1.28-5.4) and ANZAC Day (ambulance 3.71, 95% CI: 0.68-6.75). The Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final (ED 2.37, 95% CI: 0.55-4.19), Commonwealth Games (ED 2.45, 95% CI: 0.6-4.3) and Melbourne Cup Day (ambulance 6.14, 95% CI: 2.42-9.85) represented the sporting events with significant elevations in acute intoxication requiring medical attention. The last working day before Christmas was the only social event where a significant increase in acute intoxication occurred (ambulance 8.98, 95% CI: 6.8-11.15).

Conclusions: Acute alcohol intoxication cases requiring ambulance, emergency department and hospital in-patient treatment increase substantially on the day preceding public holidays and other major social events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology*
  • Anniversaries and Special Events*
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Holidays / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Sports / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors
  • Victoria / epidemiology