12 Apr 2024

Alcohol harm: older drinkers more likely to end up in ED

From Nine To Noon, 9:05 am on 12 April 2024

Binge drinking, especially among older age groups, is increasing pressure on hospital emergency departments, with one ED seeing the percentage of alcohol-related presentations more than doubling over a decade. 

The study into alcohol-related ED admissions at Christchurch Hospital, released today, gives insight into who is presenting and how. By 2022, nearly a quarter were aged 54 or over. The research, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, compared alcohol-related visits from 2013, 2017, and 2022. While the number of young drinkers in ED has fallen from one in three to just under one in five, over the decade, the percentage in the over-54 age group soared from 11.6 percent to nearly 24 percent. The University of Otago study provides a detailed snapshot of the Christchurch Hospital emergency department.

Kathryn speaks to Dr Laura Joyce is a Senior Lecturer in Emergency Medicine and a specialist in the Emergency Department of Christchurch Hospital  - and the study's Lead Researcher. She's joined by co-author Dr Rose Crossin, an alcohol researcher in the University of Otago, Christchurch's, Department of Population Health.

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Photo: Supplied