Publications & Reports

Prevalence of Alcohol and Other Drug Use in Patients Presenting to Hospital for Violence-Related Injuries: A Systematic Review.

Lau G, Ang JY, Kim N, Gabbe BJ, Mitra B, Dietze PM, Reeder S, Scott D, Beck B
Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.


Substance use is a risk factor for being both a perpetrator and a victim of violence. The aim of this systematic review was to report the prevalence of acute pre-injury substance use in patients with violence-related injuries. Systematic searches were used to identify observational studies that included patients aged >/=15 years presenting to hospital after violence-related injuries and used objective toxicology measures to report prevalence of acute pre-injury substance use. Studies were grouped based on injury cause (any violence-related, assault, firearm, and other penetrating injuries including stab and incised wounds) and substance type (any substance, alcohol only, drugs other than alcohol only), and they were summarized using narrative synthesis and meta-analyses. This review included 28 studies. Alcohol was detected in 13%-66% of any violence-related injuries (five studies), 4%-71% of assaults (13 studies), 21%-45% of firearm injuries (six studies; pooled estimate = 41%, 95% CI: 40%-42%, n = 9,190), and 9%-66% of other penetrating injuries (nine studies; pooled estimate = 60%, 95% CI: 56%-64%, n = 6,950). Drugs other than alcohol were detected in 37% of any violence-related injuries (one study), 39% of firearm injuries (one study), 7%-49% of assaults (five studies), and 5%-66% of penetrating injuries (three studies). The prevalence of any substance varied across injury categories: any violence-related injuries = 76%-77% (three studies), assaults = 40%-73% (six studies), firearms = n/a, other penetrating injuries = 26%-45% (four studies; pooled estimate = 30%, 95% CI: 24%-37%, n = 319).Overall, substance use was frequently detected in patients presenting to hospital for violence-related injuries. Quantification of substance use in violence-related injuries provides a benchmark for harm reduction and injury prevention strategies.

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  • Journal: Trauma, Violence & Abuse
  • Published: 16/02/2023
  • Pagination: 15248380221150951