Alcohol and casualties: comparison of county-wide emergency room data with the county general population

Addiction. 1995 Mar;90(3):343-50. doi: 10.1046/j.1360-0443.1995.9033434.x.


A representative sample of patients in hospital emergency rooms (ERs) in a Northern California county (n = 3731) were compared with a household probability sample of those living in the same county (n = 2101). The injured in the ER sample were more likely to be black and under 30 than those in the general population sample who reported an injury during the last year which was treated in the ER. ER injured were more likely to be abstainers than injured in the general population and among drinkers, they were also more likely to report social consequences of drinking, but were no more likely to report experiences associated with alcohol dependence. Similar differences were found between the injured and the non-injured in the two samples, with the injured more likely to be male, younger, never married and to report heavy drinking, drunkenness, social consequences of drinking and alcohol dependence experiences. The data suggest that associations of alcohol and injury found in representative samples of the ER population may be generalizable to the injured in the general population from which these patients come, with differences which do exist most likely attributable to characteristics associated with emergency room usage.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation
  • Black or African American / psychology
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sampling Studies
  • Social Problems / psychology
  • Social Problems / statistics & numerical data
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology