Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-28

Injuries, negative consequences, and risk behaviors among both injured and uninjured emergency department patients who report using alcohol and marijuana


1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Paul Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University, El Paso, TX, USA
2 Injury Prevention Center at Rhode Island Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine, Warren Alpert School of Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA
3 Injury Prevention Center at Rhode Island Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine, Warren Alpert School of Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI; Brown University Center of Alcohol and Addictions, Providence, RI, USA
4 Brown University Center of Alcohol and Addictions, Providence, RI, USA

Correspondence Address:
Robert Woolard
Department of Emergency Medicine, Paul Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University, El Paso, TX
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-2700.44679

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Background: Brief intervention (BI) to reduce hazardous drinking and negative consequences such as injury has been effective when given in the emergency department (ED). The effectiveness and effect of BI has varied between injured and uninjured ED patients. This study compares injured and uninjured ED patients who admit to alcohol and marijuana use to determine their need and their readiness for BI. Patients and Methods: Participants volunteered to enter a randomized controlled trial of BI to reduce hazardous alcohol and marijuana use. Adult ED patients who had had alcohol in the last month and smoked marijuana in the last year were recruited. Those patients who were admitted to hospital, were under police custody, or were seeking treatment for substance use or psychiatric disorder were excluded. Research assistants interviewed participants using a validated questionnaire. Data were analyzed using SAS (version 9.1). Binominal tests of proportions, t-test analyses, and transformations were conducted as appropriate. Results: Injured (n = 249) and uninjured (n = 266) study participants reported very high, statistically equivalent (P > 0.05), rates of binge drinking (4-5 days/month), marijuana use (13 days/month), driving under the influence of marijuana or alcohol (>49% in the last 3 months), injury (>83% in the last year), and other negative consequences (>64% in the last 3 months) prior to their ED visit. These behaviors and the consequences demonstrate a need for change. Both injured and uninjured subjects were ready to change (>56%) and confident they could change (>91%) alcohol and marijuana use. Discussion: ED patients who admit to alcohol and marijuana use also use other hazardous substances and participate in high-risk behaviors. In both injured and uninjured patients who admit using alcohol and marijuana, the ED visit is an opportunity to deliver BI to reduce alcohol and marijuana use and associated risk behaviors and the subsequent injury and negative consequences. Given their risk behaviors and experience of negative consequences, members of both injured and uninjured groups have an equal need for BI. Fortunately, in both groups, a high number of members express motivation to change.


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