Prevalence of alcohol and other drug use in patients presenting to hospital for fall-related injuries: A systematic review

Georgina Lau, Jia Ying Ang, Nayoung Kim, Belinda J. Gabbe, Biswadev Mitra, Paul M. Dietze, Sandra Reeder, Ben Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Alcohol and other drug (AOD) use is a key preventable risk factor for serious injuries. Prevention strategies to date have largely focused on transport injuries, despite AOD use being a significant risk factor for other injury causes, including falls. This systematic review aimed to report the prevalence of AOD use in patients presenting to hospital for fall-related injuries. Methods: This systematic review includes studies published in English after the year 2010 that objectively measured the prevalence of AOD use in patients presenting to hospital for a fall-related injury. Screening, data extraction and risk of bias assessments were completed by two independent reviewers. Data were presented using narrative synthesis and, where appropriate, meta-analyses. Results: A total of 12 707 records were screened. Full texts were retrieved for 2042 records, of which 29 were included. Four studies reported the combined prevalence of any alcohol and/or drug use, generating a pooled prevalence estimate of 37% (95% CI 25% to 49%). Twenty-two records reported on the prevalence of acute alcohol use alone and nine reported specifically on the prevalence of drugs other than alcohol, with prevalence ranging from 2% to 57% and 7% to 46%, respectively. The variation in prevalence estimates likely resulted from differences in toxicology testing methods across studies. Conclusions: AOD exposure was common in hospitalised fall-related injuries. However, research addressing prevalence across different types of falls and the use of drugs other than alcohol was limited. Future research should address these areas to improve our understanding of which populations should be targeted in AOD and injury prevention strategies. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42020188746.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381–393
Number of pages13
JournalInjury Prevention
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Fall
  • Metanalysis
  • Systematic Review

Cite this