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New study suggests thousands of ER visits could be prevented by making alcohol more expensive

A 1 percent price increase in alcohol prices corresponded with approximately 6,000 fewer violence-related emergency room visits


WALES, United Kingdom — Published in the journal Injury Prevention, a new study estimates that over 6,000 fewer violence-related emergency department attendances per year would result from a 1 percent rise above inflation on alcohol sold at bars and retail stores.

For the study, a team of researchers at the University of Cardiff examined injury data from 100 emergency departments across England and Wales between January 2005 and December 2012. They cross-referenced this information with nationally available data on the cost of alcohol in various regions and socioeconomic factors.

The study estimated that “a 1 percent increase in real on-trade [bars, clubs] alcohol prices could lead to 4,260 fewer violence-related ED attendances per year, while a 1 percent increase in real off-trade [retail stores] alcohol prices could result in 1,788 fewer attendances.”

In total, a 1 percent increase alcohol prices “could reduce the number of patients requiring ED treatment following injury in violence by over 6,000 patients per year.” While this is a British study, other studies exist that have identified the exact same correlation.

A recent American study suggests that increasing the price of alcohol 1 percent could decrease the likelihood of women being victims of domestic violence by 5.34 percent.

Another study suggests that increasing the price of alcohol by 10 percent would reduce the number of college students involved in violence each year would be reduced by approximately 200,000.

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