NZ Herald 24 January 2014
Drunk patients account for almost a third of those seeking emergency hospital treatment on Saturday nights – and many will have been binge-drinking alcohol bought from an off-licence, research shows.
Data gathered by two Otago University students at Christchurch Hospital’s emergency department shows the impact of alcohol could be even higher than suggested by routinely recorded data.
A previous study, which took a snapshot of 14 emergency departments at 2am one Saturday last month, found one in five patients was admitted due to harmful alcohol use.
But the students found almost one in three patients – 28.6 per cent – was admitted through alcohol use in the period between 11pm on Saturday and 8am on Sunday.
They also found more than 80 per cent of alcohol-affected patients had been binge-drinking, with 14 standard drinks the median number taken.