This study aimed to determine the pattern of alcohol consumption and its poisoning among the Saudi population in the city of Hail, KSA. Data from a retrospective cohort were collected qualitatively at King Khalid Hospital (KKH) and Hail General Hospital (HGH), covering 550 participants from 2015 to 2022. Two groups were formed comprising patients admitted to the emergency room (ER) and community members; their ages ranged from 19 to 75 years. Group 1 contained 400 participants, of which 250 were patients (244 males, six females) who came to the (ER) with a suspected alcohol overdose or poisoning, and 150 were patients (128 males and 22 females) who were discharged from the (ER) with minimal complaints because of their drinking. Group 2 comprised 150 participants (128 males, 22 females) who were community members, who were surveyed using a questionnaire or interview. In Group 1, 30% of patients reported an altered state of consciousness as a major complaint, 28.8% of patients exhibited abnormal liver function tests (LFTs), 27% had abnormal renal function tests (RFT) with decreased glomerular filtration rates (GFR) and elevated levels of urea and creatinine or low levels of electrolytes or calcium, and 35.6% patients showed elevated levels of pancreatic enzymes. One death was reported due to high alcohol consumption. In Group 2, the community participants reported that they started drinking alcohol due to the influence of other people (29%), stress (11%), depression (10.8%), curiosity (4.4%), and boredom (4%). In addition, 77% of participants were frequent alcohol drinkers and 20% consumed it daily. Further, 68.7% claimed to drink alcohol for more than one hour at a time, while 83.3% experienced blackouts and 70% had problems related to their liver. Moreover, 72.7% of the participants ended up in the hospital and 34.6% suffered from multiple chronic diseases. It is concluded that social influences and stress contributed to the initiation of alcohol use. Despite data gaps, the findings of this study provide a practical understanding of alcohol consumption among the Saudi population and guidance for policymakers.
Keywords: Saudi Arabia; alcohol consumption; alcohol poisoning; health impact; social influences.