Drug and Alcohol Misuse is becoming prevalent in the United Kingdom, and there has been a steep rise in teenagers and university students over the last few years. While on the one end, misuse of alcohol and drugs, especially at a very young, can lead to its potential addiction and health issues, these habits can also increase the risk of injuries.

The Increased Risk of Injuries Associated With Alcohol and Drug Misuse

Studies conducted on alcohol misuse in combination with recreational drugs have shown an increased admittance into the emergency departments, with prevalence rates of as high as 16 to 22%. Moreover, the highest rates of positive screens have been found for Marijuana and Cocaine, which is followed by other drugs or alcohol consumption. Moreover, it was also found that rates of being brought to the emergency department are higher for those who take alcohol in conjunction with drugs than those who consume either one of the two.

Why is There An Increased Risk of Injury With Substance Misuse?

Alcohol and Drug misuse can lead to two types of injuries: Intentional Injuries and Unintentional Injuries. Intentional injuries consist of those injuries which are caused by the individual to themselves on purpose and are considered suicidal in nature. On the other hand, unintentional injuries are mainly caused by an accident which is caused by the patient’s loss of their conscious self and mental alertness after being under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

 Intentional Vs. Unintentional Injuries

When the two types of injuries were compared in those who are drug and alcohol misusers, a higher prevalence of intentional injuries was found. One such study found that frequent consumers of alcohol in conjunction with other drugs or misusers of drugs alone are more likely to cause self-harm to themselves than those who are not.

This was further investigated in a survey which was conducted on 200 individuals. Out of these 100 reported as heroin addicts who had attempted suicide at least once, 100 were opiate addicts who had never tried suicide. These participants were required to fill up a questionnaire with questions ranging from socio-demographic, addiction, and hereditary data. The results showed that the main risk factors that had led to their suicide attempts included drug addiction, duration of substance abuse, and intravenous heroin use, amongst other factors.

On the other hand, a high percentage of accidents and criminal behavior is also frequently associated with Alcohol and Drug misuse, which leads to different degrees of injuries. Studies have shown drug and alcohol addicts to be involved in criminal behavior more frequently than non-addicts, which includes physical assaults, robberies, and even assault with weapons. This leads to a greater number of these individuals getting injured and being rushed into the hospital’s emergency department in the UK.

Moreover, the rate of road traffic accidents is also found to be higher in those who are habitual misusers of drugs and alcohol due to the effects these substances have on the human brain. This was further investigated in a study which was conducted on 100 drivers of a motor vehicle collision who were admitted to the emergency department. The results of the study showed at least 39% of these patients to be positive for substance abuse, which shows the association between the two.