AIM: The objective of this study is to assess the effects of Heavy Episodic Drinking (HED) on the incidence of alcohol-related injuries among university students in Spain, taking sex into consideration. METHODS: We carried out an open cohort study among college students in Spain (992 women and 371 men). HED and alcohol-related injuries were measured by question 3rd and 9th of Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test to every participant at the ages of 18, 20, 22, 24 and 27. For data analysis we used a Multilevel Logistic Regression for repeated measures adjusting for alcohol and cannabis use. RESULTS: The incidence rate of alcohol-related injuries was 0.028year-1 for females and 0.036year-1 for males. The multivariate analysis showed that among females a high frequency of HED and use of cannabis are risk factors for alcohol-related injuries (Odds Ratio [OR]=2.64 and OR=3.68), while being more than 23 is a protective factor (OR=0.34). For males, bivariate analysis also showed HED like risk factor (OR=4.69 and OR=2.51). Finally, the population attributable fraction for HED among females was 37.12%. CONCLUSIONS: HED leads to an increase of alcohol-related injuries in both sexes and being over 23 years old acts as a protective factor among women. Our results suggest that about one third of alcohol-related injuries among women could be avoided by removing HED

AIMS: To identify how current public health policies of 12 developed countries assess alcohol-related problems, the goals and targets that are set and the strategic directives proposed.

METHODS: Policy documents on alcohol and on general public heath were obtained through repeated searches of government websites. Documents were reviewed by two independent observers.

RESULTS: All the countries studied state that alcohol causes substantial harm to individual health and family well-being, increases crime and social disruption, and results in economic loss through lost productivity. All are concerned about consumption of alcohol by young adults and by heavy and problem drinkers. Few aim to reduce total consumption. Only five of the countries set specific targets for changes in drinking behaviour. Countries vary in their commitment to intervene, particularly on taxation, drink-driving, the drinking environment and for high-risk groups. Australia and New Zealand stand out as having coordinated intervention programmes in most areas.

CONCLUSIONS: Policies differ markedly in their organization, the goals and targets that are set, the strategic approaches proposed and areas identified for intervention. Most countries could improve their policies by following the recommendations in the World Heath Organization's European Alcohol Action Plan.

OBJECTIVE: To explore whether early age of drinking onset is prospectively associated with respondents unintentionally injuring themselves and others when respondents were under the influence of alcohol, controlling for current alcohol dependence/abuse, frequency of consuming 5 drinks per occasion, and other demographic characteristics.

METHODS: From 2001 to 2002, in-person interviews were conducted with a national multistage probability sample of 43,093 adults aged 18 years older. From 2004 to 2005, of 39,959 eligible respondents, 34,653 were reinterviewed. The cumulative 2-survey response rate was 70.2%. Respondents were asked the age at which they first started drinking (not counting tastes or sips), diagnostic questions for alcohol dependence and abuse, questions about behaviors that increase risk of injury, and whether respondents, when under the influence of alcohol, injured themselves or someone else as a driver in a motor vehicle crash or in some other way.

RESULTS: Logistic regression analyses revealed that the younger respondents were when they started drinking, the greater the likelihood that, between the 2 surveys, they experienced alcohol dependence/abuse, drank 5 drinks per occasion at least weekly drove under the influence of alcohol, and placed themselves in situation after drinking where they could be hurt. After controlling for those injury risk and sociodemographic characteristics, respondents who began drinking at earlier ages remained more likely between the 2 surveys to have, under the influence of alcohol, unintentionally injured themselves and someone else. More than one third of those injuries occurred when respondents 25 years of age were under the influence, although only 7% of respondents were 25 years of age. Persons other than respondents experienced 20% of those unintentional injuries, more than one third of them in traffic.

CONCLUSION: Delaying drinking onset may help reduce unintentional alcohol-related injuries that drinkers may inflict on themselves and others.

OBJECTIVE: To measure alcohol-related harms to the health of young people presenting to emergency departments (EDs) of Gold Coast public hospitals before and after the increase in the federal government "alcopops" tax in 2008.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Interrupted time series analysis over 5 years (28 April 2005 to 27 April 2010) of 15-29-year-olds presenting to EDs with alcohol-related harms compared with presentations of selected control groups.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of 15-29-year-olds presenting to EDs with alcohol-related harms compared with (i) 30-49-year-olds with alcohol-related harms, (ii)15-29-year-olds with asthma or appendicitis, and (iii) 15-29-year-olds with any non-alcohol and non-injury related ED presentation. RESULTS: Over a third of 15-29-year-olds presented to ED with alcohol-related conditions, as opposed to around a quarter for all other age groups. There was no significant decrease in alcohol-related ED presentations of 15-29-year-olds compared with any of the control groups after the increase in the tax. We found similar results for males and females, narrow and broad definitions of alcohol-related harms, under-19s, and visitors to and residents of the Gold Coast.

CONCLUSIONS: The increase in the tax on alcopops was not associated with any reduction in alcohol-related harms in this population in a unique tourist and holiday region. A more comprehensive approach to reducing alcohol harms in young people is needed.

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