Injury and violence
Injuries are a leading cause of death and disability. Alcohol and other drugs are a cross-cutting issue for injuries contributing to the global burden. The NASS surveillance data is a useful data source for understanding how alcohol and other drugs contribute to this burden.
The associations between interpersonal violence, alcohol and drug use, self-harm, and mental health issues have to this point been relatively unexplored, particularly in the context of emergency services. The Australian Institute of Criminology funded a project under their Commonwealth Research Grant Scheme to examine the feasibility of the use of ambulance data to inform patterns and trends of different forms of violence in the context of alcohol and other drug misuse, self-harm and mental health.
Relevant cases were differentiated by type of violence (e.g. aggression, threatening behaviour, physical violence) and the role of the patient in the incident (i.e. either victim or aggressor), and explored the co-occurrence of alcohol and drug use, self-harm, and/or mental health issues.
Our analysis revealed that ambulance attendances related to victims of violence had few co-occurring issues beyond alcohol and drug use. In contrast, attendances related to aggressors were more complex, with high proportions of co-occurring mental health, self-harm, and alcohol and drug issues. These findings demonstrate the utility of ambulance data for surveillance of interpersonal violence both in the context of community and family-based violence.
Aggression and violence are frequently recorded in ambulance attendances, posing a recurring threat to the health and safety to not only the patients themselves, but also bystanders, and emergency services including paramedics and police.
Alcohol and other drug related road crashes
Road crashes are one of the leading causes of death globally and alcohol and drugs contribute to those harms. In a globally unique project, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission has funded us to provide alcohol and drug related road crash data from 2022 to inform their prevention and interventions.
Learn more about this project
- Scott, D., Ogeil, R., Maoyeri, F., Heilbronn, C., Coomber, K., Smith, K., Miller, P., & Lubman, D. (2021) Alcohol Accessibility and Family Violence-related Ambulance Attendances. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 18 Jan 2021. org/10.1177/0886260520986262
- Scott D. et al (2020) The feasibility and utility of using coded ambulance records for a violence surveillance system: A novel pilot study. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 595. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.
- Kerri Coomber, Ashlee Curtis, Brian Vandenberg, Peter G. Miller, Cherie Heilbronn, Sharon Matthews, Karen Smith, James Wilson, Foruhar Moayeri, Richelle Mayshak, Dan I. Lubman, Debbie Scott (2019) Aggression and violence at ambulance attendances where alcohol, illicit and/or pharmaceutical drugs were recorded: A 5-year study of ambulance records in Victoria, Australia. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Vol. 205.107685,ISSN 0376-8716.