Involvement of alcohol in injury cases in rural Sri Lanka: Prevalence and associated factors among in-patients in three primary care hospitals

L. Scholin, M. Weerasinghe, S. Agampodi, U. Chathurange, S. Rajapaksha, A. Holloway, J. Norrie, F. Mohamed, M. Eddleston, M. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Injuries account for a major proportion of global morbidity and mortality related to alcohol use. Information on the prevalence of alcohol-related injury in rural Sri Lanka is limited. The aims of this study were to determine the burden of alcohol-related injury in a hospital-based sample in rural Sri Lanka and explore factors associated with an increased risk of alcohol-related injury. 

Methods: Involvement of alcohol in injury amongst in-patients was assessed in three hospitals in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka over 6 months. Adult (≥ 18 years) patients were eligible. Patients were assessed for: injury characteristics, current alcohol use (in the past year) using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT), and acute intoxication. Patients with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading equivalent of 10 mg/dL (2.17 mmol/L) were considered as having an alcohol-related injury. Binary logistic regression was used to explore association between alcohol-related injury and demographic and injury characteristics.

Results: A total of 883 injured patients were eligible and consented to the study. No alcohol use was reported by 487 (55.2%) of patients (35.6% of men, 95.2% of women). Prevalence of alcohol-related injuries was 14.8% overall and 32.8% among current alcohol users. Almost all patients with an alcohol-related injury were male (122/123; 99.2%); 24 (18.8%) of these patients scored positive for possible alcohol dependence. Patients with an alcohol-related injury had significantly higher AUDIT scores (median = 15 vs 6, p < 0.001), were significantly more likely to be aged 26–40 (OR 2.29, 95% CI:1.11, 4.72) or 41–55 years (OR 2.76, 95% CI: 1.29, 5.90) (compared to 18–25 years), to have a transport-related injury (OR 5.14, 95% CI: 2.30, 11.49) (compared to animal/plant sting/bite), and have intentional injuries (OR 3.47, 95% CI: 1.01, 11.87). 

Conclusions: One in three injuries among people who drank alcohol in this sample were alcohol-related. In addition, problematic alcohol use was higher among those with alcohol-related injury. Further work is needed to explore whether this prevalence of alcohol-related injury is reflected in other rural settings in Sri Lanka.

Original languageEnglish
Article number514
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date16 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • alcohol-related injuries
  • Sri Lanka
  • blood alcohol concentration


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