Alcohol or Drug Use and Trauma Recidivism

Nurs Res. Sep/Oct 2017;66(5):399-404. doi: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000231.


Background: Alcohol, illicit drugs, and psychotropic medications are well-known causes of traumatic events. However, the association of each type of substance with trauma recidivism remains unclear.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to quantify the strength of associations between the type of substance detected in patients admitted for traumatic injury and trauma recidivism, defined as a documented history of past trauma.

Methods: The presence of alcohol and drugs (cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, opiates, methadone, barbiturates, and tricyclic antidepressants) was analyzed in 1,156 patients between 16 and 70 years old, hospitalized in a trauma hospital between November 2011 and March 2015. Their past trauma history was retrieved from the health information system, which included patient health histories since 1999. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the strength of the association between types of substances detected in current trauma patients and trauma recidivism (documented history of past trauma).

Results: At least one substance was detected in 521 patients (45.1%): only alcohol in 159 (13.7%), only cannabis in 62 (5.4%), only psychotropic medications/opioids in 145 (12.5%), only cocaine/amphetamines in 14 (1.2%), and a combination of these groups in 141 (12.2%). The consumption of alcohol, illicit drugs, and/or psychotropic medications was associated with increased recidivism in all substance groups; the adjusted odds ratio for multiple recidivism was 3.17 (95% CI [2.29, 4.39]).

Conclusion: Patients who screened positive for alcohol, illicit drugs, and/or psychotropic medications had a higher frequency of past trauma history compared with patients with negative tests, independently of age, gender, or the presence of previous psychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Psychotropic Drugs / adverse effects*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Wounds and Injuries / chemically induced*
  • Young Adult


  • Psychotropic Drugs