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J Stud Alcohol. 1989 Sep;50(5):441-7.

Blood alcohol level among emergency room patients: a multivariate analysis.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois.


This article examines the distribution of positive blood alcohol levels (BALs) among emergency room patients and the relationship between intoxication and other variables. Approximately one-quarter of the 640 subjects had positive blood alcohol levels and 16.3% had BAL readings above 0.10%, the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle in most states. Chi-square tests and logistic regression analysis indicated a significant relationship between employment status, gender, educational attainment, age and BAL. There were no significant racial differences. Analysis of the role of the presenting problem with BAL revealed that being involved in an accident was significantly predictive of a high BAL in a multivariate context. However, patients presenting with psychiatric problems had overall higher levels of intoxication than other patients. These findings have major implications for public policy formulation vis-à-vis public health delivery.

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