Background Alcohol is a major risk factor for the global burden of disease and injury. By 2020 injuries are predicted to be the third leading cause of death and disability worldwide.
Aim To ensure alcohol-related policies, plans and practices are informed by the best available evidence.
Method Alcohol Healthwatch undertook a comprehensive review of published literature on alcohol's role in injuries (unintentional and intentional), and the effectiveness of interventions to reduce the burden of alcohol-related injuries.
Results Alcohol-attributed injuries (intentional and unintentional) account for almost half of all alcohol-attributable deaths worldwide. In New Zealand more than 50% of deaths and 70% years of life lost each year are due to alcohol-related injuries. There is a clear dose-response relationship between alcohol consumption and injuries. Risk of an injury is almost 3 times greater when alcohol is consumed. We found that alcohol is a significant risk factor in a range of unintentional injuries including falls, fire, burns, drowning and near drowning, workplace injuries and poisoning, and intentional injuries including intimate partner violence, sexual violence/assault, child and elder abuse/neglect, suicide and self harm. We also found that there are interventions that can effectively reduce alcohol-related injuries and violence.
Significance We will summarise our findings and present a framework for a more effective response to reduce the burden of alcohol-related injuries in New Zealand.
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