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Estimating alcohol and drug involvement in hospitalized adolescents with assault injuries

Sheppard, M. A.; Snowden, C. B.; Baker, S. P.; and Jones, P. R.

Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 43, pgs. 165-71 (2008)

PURPOSE: Adolescents using alcohol and drugs are at higher risk for assaultive behaviors. We examined adolescents aged 10 to 20 years who were hospitalized for assault injuries between July 1995 and December 1998 in Maryland to determine the demographic and injury-related predictors of the presence of drug/alcohol use among adolescents, and to estimate the presence of drug/alcohol use among adolescents with undetermined drug and/or alcohol use.

METHODS: Patient records for adolescents were selected from 2189 discharges from the Maryland Trauma Registry and 1625 discharges from the Maryland Hospital Discharge data system. Three discrete groups of adolescents were identified: (1) those on the Trauma Registry and in the Hospital Discharge data system (N = 1197), (2) only those on the Trauma Registry (N = 992), or (3) only those in the Hospital Discharge data system (N = 428). Multiple logistic regression was performed to determine the predictors of the presence of drug/alcohol use among adolescents in the Trauma Registry. These models were then used to estimate the presence of drug/alcohol use among adolescents with undetermined drug and/or alcohol use.

RESULTS: Age, sex, mechanism of injury, day of hospital admittance, and time of day were significant predictors of alcohol/drug use. The proportion of predicted alcohol/drug involved hospitalized cases varied from 54% to 66%.

CONCLUSION: Our methodology and findings contribute to the understanding of the epidemiology of assaultive behaviors and the role of alcohol/drug use in injury among adolescents.