Need for screening for alcohol and drugs in Emergency Trauma Units

  • VO Lasebikan
  • S Adebayo


Objectives: To examine the prevalence of alcohol and drug use and abuse, to identify socio-demographic  characteristics that correlated with injury and to identify risk factors for injury in a Nigerian Trauma unit.
Design: Descriptive cross sectional study.
Setting: The study was carried out a general hospital trauma unit in Nigeria.
Subjects: One thousand one hundred and twenty one trauma patients and 303 controls.
Results: Of all injuries, 50.1% were road accidents, mean injury severity score was 41.3 SD (11.2), prevalence of alcohol abuse was 27.9%, cannabis abuse 14.0% and pretrauma alcohol use 41.2%, pre-trauma cannabis use was 6.9%. Multivariate analysis shows that age < 31 years 95% CI (0.26-0.89), alcohol abuse 95% CI (1.84-4.64), binge drinking in the previous 30 days 95% CI (1.76-6.46), cannabis abuse 95% CI (1.45-2.88) and pretrauma combined alcohol and cannabis use 95% CI (3.34-11.78) were risk factors for severe injury.
Conclusion: Use and abuse of alcohol and drugs is highly prevalent among trauma patients seeking emergency care. Therefore trauma patients require routine toxicological screening to provide basis for preventive programmes or referrals for them.

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eISSN: 0012-835X