Licensing laws treble alcohol emergencies

Overnight visits to emergency de-partments for alcohol-related problems have almost tripled since 24-hour licensing laws were introduced, claim UK researchers.

Analysis of admission rates to the emergency department at St Thomas’ Hospital in London showed that after licensing laws were extended in November 2005, the proportion of overnight admissions for alcohol-related problems increased from 3 per cent to 8 per cent.

The number of visits as a result of assault linked to binge drinking doubled between March 2005 and March 2006.

If reproduced over longer time periods across the UK as a whole, the additional burden 24-hour drinking puts on emergency departments could be ‘substantial’, say the researchers.

Emerg Med J 2007; 24: 532-534

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