Alcohol intoxication in the context of major public holidays, sporting and social events: a time–series analysis in Melbourne, Australia, 2000–2009

Authors

  • Belinda Lloyd,

    Corresponding author
    1. Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Box Hill, Vic., Australia
    • Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Fitzroy, Vic., Australia
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  • Sharon Matthews,

    1. Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Fitzroy, Vic., Australia
    2. Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Box Hill, Vic., Australia
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  • Michael Livingston,

    1. Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Fitzroy, Vic., Australia
    2. Melbourne School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic., Australia
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  • Harindra Jayasekara,

    1. Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Fitzroy, Vic., Australia
    2. Melbourne School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic., Australia
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  • Karen Smith

    1. Ambulance Victoria, Doncaster, Vic., Australia
    2. Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Box Hill, Vic., Australia
    3. School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care (SPARHC), University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia
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Correspondence to: Belinda Lloyd, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, 54-62 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Vic. 3065, Australia; E-mail: belindal@turningpoint.org.au

Abstract

Aims

To assess the relationship between ambulance attendances, emergency department (ED) presentations and hospital admissions for acute alcohol intoxication and the timing of public holidays, sporting and social events.

Design

Time–series analysis was used to explore trends in intoxication in the context of major events.

Setting

Population of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia between 2000 and 2009.

Participants

All patients attended by ambulance, presenting to hospital EDs, or admitted to hospital who were classified as acutely alcohol intoxicated.

Measurement

Analysis of daily numbers of presentations for acute alcohol intoxication associated with major events were undertaken, including lead and lag effects. Analyses controlled for day of week and month of year to address temporal and seasonal variations.

Findings

Alcohol intoxication presentations were significantly elevated the day before all public holidays, with intoxication cases on the day of public holidays only higher on New Year's Day (ambulance 6.57, 95% confidence intervals (CI): 3.4–9.74; ED 3.34, 95% CI: 1.28–5.4) and ANZAC Day (ambulance 3.71, 95% CI: 0.68–6.75). The Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final (ED 2.37, 95% CI: 0.55–4.19), Commonwealth Games (ED 2.45, 95% CI: 0.6–4.3) and Melbourne Cup Day (ambulance 6.14, 95% CI: 2.42–9.85) represented the sporting events with significant elevations in acute intoxication requiring medical attention. The last working day before Christmas was the only social event where a significant increase in acute intoxication occurred (ambulance 8.98, 95% CI: 6.8–11.15).

Conclusions

Acute alcohol intoxication cases requiring ambulance, emergency department and hospital in-patient treatment increase substantially on the day preceding public holidays and other major social events.

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