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Presentations with alcohol-related serious injury to a major Sydney trauma hospital after 2014 changes to liquor laws

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A number of recent studies have reviewed aspects of the complex questions associated with alcohol consumption, particularly with the misuse of alcohol.14 The impact of alcohol on emergency services has also been examined.510 It was found that drinking a single glass of wine doubled the risk of presentation to an emergency department; after three glasses, there was a 5-fold increase.11 The same study found that, after 10 standard drinks, the risk of needing to attend an emergency department was increased 10-fold for men and 14-fold for women.

There have been few well designed studies of alcohol-related injuries, and they often rely on emergency department data. Although of some value, such data have significant limitations if not collected prospectively and their acquisition appropriately resourced.12

On 24 February 2014, the New South Wales Government introduced changes to liquor regulations in the central district of the City of Sydney, the so-called “party precinct”. These legislative changes were enacted in response to community outrage after a series of adverse events reported in the media, particularly the deaths of two young men associated with alcohol-fuelled violence.