Larger Regional and Rural Areas in Victoria, Australia, Experience More Alcohol-Related Injury Presentations at Emergency Departments

Authors


  • Funding: This study was funded by the Deakin University Centre for Mental Health and Well Being. There are no conflicts of interest to declare.

  • Acknowledgments: We would like to thank the Victorian Department of Health HOSdata team and particularly James Moffat.

For further information, contact: Peter G. Miller, School of Psychology, Deakin University, Locked Bag 20000, Geelong VIC 3220, Australia; e-mail: peter.miller@deakin.edu.au.

Abstract

Purpose

Alcohol consumption is higher in regional and rural areas compared to metropolitan locations, but it is unclear which areas suffer different levels of harm. The current study investigated the rates of alcohol-related injury presentations at emergency departments (EDs) in Victoria, Australia, across metropolitan, regional, rural, and remote areas, and within coastal locations.

Methods

Using ED injury presentations data for Victorian hospitals from June 1999 to June 2011, the trends in alcohol-related injury rates over time were investigated.

Findings

Compared to metropolitan locations, alcohol-related injuries were higher in larger regional and rural areas and similar in small rural towns. The rates of alcohol-related injuries are also significantly increasing over time for regional and rural locations. Lastly, for males, rates of alcohol-related injuries increased in coastal areas during November to February compared to the remaining months.

Conclusions

Regional and coastal areas experience increased alcohol-related injury rates. The causes of this have yet to be investigated and future research is required to determine why and what interventions may be most effective at reducing these harms.

Ancillary