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N Z Med J. 2014 Aug 29;127(1401):40-55.

Patterns and sources of alcohol consumption preceding alcohol-affected attendances to a New Zealand hospital emergency department.

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University of Otago Christchurch, Emergency Department, Christchurch Hospital, Private Bag 4710, Christchurch, New Zealand.



To perform a descriptive study of the drinking behaviour (amounts, types, sources of alcohol consumed) preceding alcohol-affected presentations to Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department (ED).


Over 336 hours in the ED, patients with recent alcohol consumption or alcohol-related attendances were identified, classified as alcohol-affected or alcohol- unaffected, and invited to consent to answering questions on types, amounts and sources of alcohol consumed in the drinking session preceding or implicated in their ED attendance. Demographic information and level of intoxication were also recorded. Data were summarised descriptively.


Alcohol-affected patients were more frequently young (16-25 years) and male. Median alcohol consumption was 14 (range 1 to 71) standard drinks. Beer was the most popular beverage (34%), but spirits (23%), ready-to-drink mixes (21%) and wine (20%) were also popular. Liquor stores (45%) were the most popular source of alcohol, followed by on-licence premises (25%), and supermarkets (21%). The popularity of different types of beverages and their source varied according to patient age and gender.


Consumption of large amounts, as well as allegedly 'safe' amounts, of a range of alcoholic beverages, most commonly from an off-licence source, contributed to alcohol-affected presentations to the ED. Beverage and source popularity varied by age and gender.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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