NewsBriefs BUTTONS

DOJ Says 14% of Violence-Related Injuries Treated in Emergency Rooms Related to Drugs and Alcohol -- Only 1% Drugs


September-October 1997

In 1994, U.S. hospital emergency departments (EDs) treated approximately 1.4 million people for non-fatal injuries from confirmed or suspected violence, according to a new study from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics. According to the study, "Almost all of the alcohol/drug citations on the hospital records reflected alcohol involvement. Drugs were cited on the hospital record in less than 1% of all violence-related injuries treated" (Michael R. Rand, "Violence-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments," Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, August 1997, NCJ-156921).

The first "Violence-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments" study found that among patients treated in 1994 for non-fatal injuries sustained from violence -- 94% were injured during an assault, 5% were injured during a rape or sexual assault, and 2% were injured during a robbery. Males represented 60.8%, and persons under 25 represented about half, of all persons treated in EDs for such injuries. African-Americans, who constitute about 13% of the population, represented 24% of those treated for violence-related injuries.

The study cited the use of illegal drugs or alcohol by the victim or someone else involved in the incident in 14.2% (16.8% for men and 10.2% for women) of the violence-related injuries. About 20% of injuries related to drugs or alcohol sustained by men occurred in or near bars or restaurants, and many were characterized on hospital records as "bar fights."

The report (NCJ-156921) is available by fax by calling (301) 251-5550 or calling the BJS Clearinghouse at (800) 732-3277. It is also available on-line at