Hazardous drinking by trauma patients during the year after injury

Chris Dunn, Douglas Zatzick, Joan Russo, Frederick Rivara, Peter Roy-Byrne, Rick Ries, Dave Wisner, Larry Gentilello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Background To improve reinjury prevention strategies targeting hazardous drinking, we determined its predictors and longitudinal course in the year after injury. Methods This was a prospective study of 101 randomly selected hospitalized trauma patients who before injury represented the full range of substance abuse, from severe to none. We hypothesized that clinical data obtained routinely by trauma centers would predict hazardous drinking during the postinjury year. Results Drug and alcohol use dropped markedly 1 month after injury but returned to preinjury levels by 4 months. Forty-one percent of the sample drank hazardously before injury, and 55% drank hazardously after. From before to after injury, 20% of patients worsened their hazardous drinking status, and only 6% of patients improved it. Three clinical predictors of hazardous drinking during the year were identified: any positive blood alcohol concentration > 0 at admission (odds ratio [OR], 9.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.51-33.56), any days > 0 of using nonprescription drugs of abuse in the month before injury (OR, 6.63; 95% CI, 1.76-25.04), and suffering an intentional injury (OR, 5.1; 95% CI, 1.38-18.77). Conclusion Efforts to reduce hazardous drinking after injury should target patients with this risk profile and focus on the 1- to 4-month period after injury hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-712
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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