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Popul Health Metr. 2012 May 18;10(1):9. doi: 10.1186/1478-7954-10-9.

Global burden of injuries attributable to alcohol consumption in 2004: a novel way of calculating the burden of injuries attributable to alcohol consumption.

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1
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto, Canada. kevin.shield@utoronto.ca.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for injuries; however, international data on this burden are limited. This article presents new methods to quantify the burden of injuries attributable to alcohol consumption and quantifies the number of deaths, potential years of life lost (PYLL), and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost from injuries attributable to alcohol consumption for 2004.

METHODS:

Data on drinking indicators were obtained from the Comparative Risk Assessment study. Data on mortality, PYLL, and DALYs for injuries were obtained from the World Health Organization. Alcohol-attributable fractions were calculated based on a new risk modeling methodology, which accounts for average and heavy drinking occasions. 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using a Monte Carlo simulation method.

RESULTS:

In 2004, 851,900 (95% CI: 419,400 to 1,282,500) deaths, 19,051,000 (95% CI: 9,767,000 to 28,243,000) PYLL, and 21,688,000 (95% CI: 11,097,000 to 32,385,000) DALYs for people 15 years and older were due to injuries attributable to alcohol consumption. With respect to the total number of deaths, harms to others were responsible for 15.1% of alcohol-attributable injury deaths, 14.5% of alcohol-attributable injury PYLL, and 11.35% of alcohol-attributable injury DALYs. The overall burden of injuries attributable to alcohol consumption corresponds to 17.3% of all injury deaths, 16.7% of all PYLL, and 13.6% of all DALYs caused by injuries, or 1.4% of all deaths, 2.0% of all PYLL, and 1.4% of all DALYs in 2004.

CONCLUSIONS:

The novel methodology described in this article to calculate the burden of injuries attributable to alcohol consumption improves on previous methodology by more accurately calculating the burden of injuries attributable to one's own drinking, and for the first time, calculates the burden of injuries attributable to the alcohol consumption of others. The burden of injuries attributable to alcohol consumption is large and is entirely avoidable, and policies and strategies to reduce it are recommended.

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