Daniel Myran, MD, MPH, CCFP Public Health & Preventive Medicine, PGY-5 University of Ottawa

Young Adults Had Largest Increase in Alcohol-Related ER Visits

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Daniel Myran, MD, MPH, CCFP Public Health & Preventive Medicine, PGY-5 University of Ottawa

Daniel Myran

Daniel Myran, MD, MPH, CCFP
Public Health & Preventive Medicine, PGY-5
University of Ottawa

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We know that alcohol consumption results in enormous health and societal harms globally and in Canada.

While several studies have looked at changes in alcohol harms, such as Emergency Department (ED) visits and Hospitalizations due alcohol, this study is the first to examine in detail how harms related to alcohol have been changing over time in Canada.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that there were 765,354 ED visits in Ontario due to alcohol use over a 14-year study period (2003-2016). These visits represented 1.2 per cent of all ED visits in Ontario. After adjusting for the aging and growing population, the we found that ED visits due to alcohol increased by 86 per cent in women (from 20.7 visits to 38.6 visits per 10,000 individuals) and 53 per cent in men (from 51.1 to 78.3 visits per 10,000 individuals). By comparison, while ED visits due to any cause also increased over the study period, the observed increase in rates of ED visits due to alcohol was 4.4 times greater.

During the study period, the age group that had the largest increase in alcohol-related ED visits was young adults aged 25 to 29, with a 175 per cent increase (27.2 visits per 10,000 individuals to 74.9 visits per 10,000). 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Alcohol harms are increasing rapidly in Ontario particularly in women and young adults. These findings raise concerns that young Canadians may be drinking in increasingly harmful patterns. Should these young Canadians continue these patterns as they age they may face serious long-term health consequences. We also observed that alcohol harms, like most heath conditions, concentrated in lower income individuals. However, the increases in visits between 2003 and 2016 was equal across income groups suggesting that the observed increases in alcohol harms are impacting low- and high-income individuals alike.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: There is a need for further research examining whether our observed differences in changes in alcohol harms by age and sex are occurring in other countries. We also need to investigate age and sex specific causes for these observed increases to inform government policy and clinical intervention aimed at reducing harms from alcohol.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Our study occurred during a time period where the government had policies that tightly regulated the price of alcohol and its availability. Since December 2015 these policies have been loosened. There is the potential that the observed increases in alcohol harms will continue or even accelerate in the future.

No disclosures 


Rates of emergency department visits attributable to alcohol use in Ontario from 2003 to 2016: a retrospective population-level study
Daniel T. MyranAmy T. HsuGlenys Smith and Peter Tanuseputro

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Last Updated on July 22, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD