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Study: Drinking Triples Injury Risk

Odds for drowning, especially, were much higher in drinkers

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 23, 2005 (HealthDayNews) -- There's more evidence that overindulging in drink can have very serious consequences: A new study finds drinkers are three times more likely to die from injury as non-drinkers or former drinkers.

The study found the risk of drowning, especially, was much higher among current drinkers, who were 3.6 times more likely to drown than non-drinkers. The study, by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, also found that female drinkers had a greater increase in the risk of committing suicide or murder than male drinkers.

This is the first study to investigate the relationship between drinking behavior and all major categories of injuries -- motor vehicle injuries, accidental falls, fire, drowning, poisoning, suicide, strangulation/suffocation and murder.

Drinkers were defined as people who had consumed at least 12 drinks within a year. The researchers examined U.S. data from two nationwide surveys involving more than 48,000 people.

"Our study found that 54 to 64 percent of injury deaths occur in current drinkers," study co-author Susan P. Baker, a professor in the department of health policy and management, said in a prepared statement.

"It is clear that drinking is associated with a significantly increased risk of all types of fatal injury. Falls may be an exception, because most fall deaths occur in the elderly, who are less likely to be drinkers. Our most notable finding was that current drinking increased the risk more for drowning than for other fatal injuries," Baker said.

The study will be published in the March issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about alcohol and injuries.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, news release, Feb. 10, 2005
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