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Trends in alcohol-related injury admissions in adolescents in Western Australia and England: population-based cohort study
  1. Melissa O’Donnell1,
  2. Scott Sims1,
  3. Miriam J Maclean1,
  4. Arturo Gonzalez-Izquierdo2,
  5. Ruth Gilbert3,
  6. Fiona J Stanley1
  1. 1 Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  2. 2 Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, University College London, London, UK
  3. 3 Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Melissa O’Donnell; melissao{at}


Background Alcohol-related harm in young people is now a global health priority. We examined trends in hospital admissions for alcohol-related injuries for adolescents in Western Australia (WA) and in England, identified groups most at risk and determined causes of injuries.

Methods Annual incidence rates for alcohol-related injury rates were calculated using population-level hospital admissions data for WA and England. We compared trends in different types of alcohol-related injury by age and gender.

Results Despite a decrease in the overall rate of injury admissions for people aged 13–17 years in WA, alcohol-related injuries have increased significantly from 1990 to 2009 (from 8 to 12 per 10 000). Conversely, alcohol-related injury rates have declined in England since 2007. In England, self-harm is the most frequently recorded cause of alcohol-related injury. In WA, unintentional injury is most common; however, violence-related harm is increasing for boys and girls.

Conclusion Alcohol-related harm of sufficient severity to require hospital admission is increasing among adolescents in WA. Declining trends in England suggest that this trend is not inevitable or irreversible. More needs to be done to address alcohol-related harm, and on-going monitoring is required to assess the effectiveness of strategies.

  • Injury rates
  • trends
  • alcohol
  • adolescents
  • youth

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

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  • Contributors MOD conceptualised the paper, developed the statistical plan, wrote a preliminary draft and revised the paper. RG contributed to the conceptualisation of the paper, contributed to the draft and revised the paper. SS cleaned and analysed the Western Australian data, contributed to the draft and revised the paper. AG-I cleaned and analysed England data, contributed to the draft and revised the paper. MJM contributed to the interpretation of findings, the drafting of the paper and revised the paper. FJS contributed to the conceptualisation of the paper and revised the paper.

  • Funding The Policy Research Unit in the Health of Children, Young People and Families (CPRU), which is funded by the England Department of Health Policy Research Programme. This is an independent report commissioned and funded by the Department of Health. We thank members of CPRU: Terence Stephenson, Catherine Law, Amanda Edwards, Steve Morris, Helen Roberts, Cathy Street, Russell Viner and Miranda Wolpert. RG and AG-I were also partly supported by awards establishing the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research (MR/K006584/1). MOD was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship (1012439). This research was also supported by an Australian Research Council Linkage Project Grant (LP100200507) and an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP110100967).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Western Australian Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data utilised in this paper is owned by our respective Government Departments and therefore would require permissions by these Departments for others to access.

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