Beer, malt liquor are top brews with ER patients
A tiny pilot study finds certain brands are more often consumed by those who need emergency treatment.
A new study says beer and its high-octane cousin, malt liquor, are the beverages of choice for people ending up in hospital emergency rooms.
According to researchers at The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY), part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, nearly one-third of all injury visits to emergency rooms are alcohol-related and often the result of heavy drinking.
"Understanding the relationship between alcohol brands and their connection to injury may help guide policy makers in considering taxation and physical availability of different types of alcohol given the harms associated with them," CAMY director David Jernigan, the study's lead author said in a press statement.
The study found five brands were consumed in the highest quantities by the ER patients in the study. Three -- Budweiser, Bud Ice and Bud Light -- are produced by Anheuser-Busch (BUD). Also on the list was Steel Reserve from MillerCoors -- a joint venture between Molson Coors (TAP) and SABMiller (SBMRY). The other drink, Colt 45, is made by Pabst Brewing. Three of these beverages are malt liquors with a higher alcohol content than regular beer.
The researchers say four malt liquors -- Steel Reserve, Colt 45, Bud Ice and Anheuser-Busch's King Cobra -- accounted for nearly half of the beer consumed by the sample. "Yet these four beverages accounted for only 2.4% of beer consumption in the general population."
The researchers admit this pilot study is limited. It involved just over 100 subjects who admitted to drinking alcohol before their injury, and it took place at only one hospital in Baltimore. But they see their work as leading to a broader study that could eventually affect national policies on such consumer issues as alcohol content and serving size information on some alcoholic beverages. Such research could also help establish new regulations for labeling, availability and marketing.
"Our pilot study demonstrated that collecting alcohol type and brand data in hospital emergency room is feasible, if labor-intensive," they concluded in The Washington Post's Wonkblog.
90% of the time, the last thing they said before they started their trip to the emergency room was:
"Hey ya'll, watch this!"
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