An overview of injuries to adolescents and young adults related to substance use: data from Canadian emergency departments

Sarah Lea, Karen Black, Mark Asbridge
2009 CJEM: Canadian Journal of Emergency Medical Care  
Objective: Alcohol is a significant risk factor for injury, and is one of the leading causes of death, disability and premature mortality among young Canadians. This paper provides an overview of alcohol-related injury among adolescents and young adults presenting to Canadian emergency departments (EDs). Methods: We reviewed records from the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program database during the 4-year period between 2000 and 2003. We included individuals younger than 25
more » ... years who presented to EDs in 11 pediatric and general hospitals with injuries for which alcohol, either alone or in conjunction with drugs, was recorded as a contributing factor. We examined key socio-demographic and injury-related factors associated with alcohol and drug-related injuries, including intent and disposition. Results: Alcohol was identified as a factor in 2389 injuries during this 4-year period; 408 (17%) of these cases also involved drug use. Approximately 55% of these patients were male and the majority was between 15 and 19 years of age. Unintentional injuries were the most common presentation, self-harm injuries were more common among female patients and violence-related injuries were more common among male patients. Most patients received treatment for their injuries. However, as age increased, outcome differences were observed between sexes. Conclusion: Alcohol-related injuries are increasing among Canadian youth. These findings highlight the importance of obtaining thorough drug and alcohol histories and measurement, when appropriate, for adolescents and young adults presenting to EDs with injuries.
doi:10.1017/s1481803500011374 fatcat:okyrj63ymvgtri3kjerr65frja