A new study of emergency department patients in 18 countries, made available online by the scientific journal Addiction, shows that the risk of injury caused by acute alcohol consumption is higher for women compared with men. While the risk of injury is similar for both men and women up to three ‘standard’ drinks (containing 16 ml or 12.8 g of pure ethanol), the risk then increases more rapidly for women, becoming twice the risk to men around 15 drinks and three times the risk to men around 30 drinks. In this study the drinks were reportedly consumed within six hours prior to injury.
The risk of violence-rated injury is consistently larger than the risk of other types of injuries and has a steeper dose-response relationship than other types of injuries, meaning the risk of injury from violence increases more rapidly as the volume of alcohol consumed increases.
The ‘standard’ drink used in this study equals less than a 350 ml glass of 5% ABV beer, a 150 ml glass of 12% ABV wine, or a 44 ml glass of 80-proof spirit, each of which contains approximately 18 ml of pure ethanol. In this study, one 750-ml bottle of 12% wine equals 5.6 drinks.
The study looked at over 13,000 injured patients from Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana, India, Ireland, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Support for this paper was provided by a grant (AA R01 AA013750) from the U.S. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Cherpitel C, Ye Y, Bond J, Borges G, Monteiro M. Relative risk of injury from acute alcohol consumption: modeling the dose-response relationship in emergency department data from 18 countries. Addiction, 109: doi: 10.1111/add.12755. This paper is free to download for one month after publication