Drinking and drugging can be painful

  • People are more likely to sustain injuries if they use alcohol and/or other drugs.
  • People clinically identified as substance abusers have an elevated risk of injury.
  • People who abuse both alcohol and other drugs have the highest risk of injury.
  • Substance-abusing women over the age of 50 have an especially elevated risk for injury. The association among alcohol and other drug use and injury is well documented. Alcohol alone is known to be a factor in 60 to 70 percent of homicides, 40 percent of suicides, 40 to 50 percent of fatal motor vehicle crashes, 60 percent of fatal burn injuries, 60 percent of drownings, and 40 percent of fatal falls. Additional studies have also confirmed an association between alcohol and nonfatal injuries. Yet only recently has research - such as a study in the January issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research - examined the injury risk among individuals clinically diagnosed with substance abuse problems. That is, people known to abuse alcohol and/or other drugs.

    "We know that people often have alcohol on board when they get injured," explained Ted R. Miller, a principal research scientist at Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and lead author of the study. "We need to sort out how many injuries result from the effects of alcohol versus the lifestyle of those who abuse alcohol. Very little is known about the injury risk associated with drug abuse, or whether alcohol and drug abusers have higher injury risks than those who abuse only drugs. If substance abusers have excess injury risks, physicians need to know that so they can reduce this health threat."

    Miller and his co-authors examined medical claims data from a database for 1.5 million people with health care coverage provided by 70 large corporations. Specifically, they analyzed the injury-claims histories during a three-year period of people who were treated for an alcohol- or drug-related dia

  • Contact: Ted R. Miller, Ph.D.
    301-586-9200 x727
    Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research

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