Will Drinking Beer Land You in the ER?

About a third of injury-related emergency room visits involve alcohol. A recent study shows that certain alcoholic drinks are more likely to be involved than others in these injuries. Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore found that Budweiser, Steel Reserve, Colt 45, Bud Ice, and Bud Light were consumed most often by patients who ended up in the emergency room. Three of the named brands are malt liquors, which actually contain more alcohol than a regular beer. Although they account for less than 3% of actual beer consumption in the population, four malt liquors accounted for about half of the beer consumption of emergency room patients. This new study is the first to look at whether certain types of liquor or drink brands are overrepresented in cases of emergency room visits.

Injuries are the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States, and about 65% of these injuries are accidental, with alcohol playing a role in a large percentage of these unintentional injuries. People who drink are more likely to engage in risky behavior, be involved in auto accidents, and act impulsively. Previous studies found that this behavior led to emergency room admissions involving auto accidents, accidental drowning, falls, and homicides.

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