Aim: To measure changes in alcohol-related emergency department (ED) attendances after introduction of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.
Methods: Cross-sectional survey of Christchurch ED attendees in three-week sampling periods in 2013 and 2017. Participants had consumed alcohol within four hours, or their drinking had directly contributed to the attendance. The quantity of alcohol consumed and places of purchase and consumption for the index drinking episode were recorded.
Results: From 2013 to 2017 there was a non-significant (p=.41) reduction in the proportion of ED attendees eligible for the study, from 253/3400 (7.4%) to 258/3721 (6.9%). Among participants (n=169 in 2013, n=139 in 2017), liquor store purchasing increased from 41.7% in 2013 to 56.1% in 2017 (p<.01) but there was no significant change in quantity consumed in the index episode; last drink location; percentage of participants with an injury-related attendance; or pre-drinking. In both waves, most participants had purchased alcohol from off-licence venues and consumed their last drink at a private location.
Conclusion: Alcohol-related ED attendances remained common after the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 was introduced, and they mainly occurred in people who sourced alcohol from off-licence outlets and had their last drink at private locations.