Gerhard Gmel at the Alcohol Treatment Center at the Lausanne University Hospital and the Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems, and colleagues screened 8,736 emergency department patients who had been admitted to the hospital's surgical ward during an 18-month period. It was found that moderate drinkers who occasionally drink heavily are more at risk to suffer an alcohol-related injury than chronic heavy drinkers. He said that the amount and the pattern of alcohol play a vital role in determining the risk of alcohol related injury. This is true for both sexes.
They have scrutinized three aspects of drinking namely the average weekly consumption, binge-drinking episodes and the amount of alcohol consumed before hospital admission.
Among all types of drinkers, the risk of injury increased with higher alcohol consumption in the 24 hours before hospital admission. But the greatest risk was among moderate drinkers who sometimes drank heavily and who had done so in the previous 24 hours. It was found that when moderately drinking women occasionally indulge in heavy drinking then they were seven times as likely to be injured as women who never drank. In case of men it was more than six times greater during a binge compared to male non-drinkers.
Linda Degutis, associate professor of surgery and public health at Yale University said that indulgence in heavy drinking has its own severe side effects. Statistics show that about 20 % of adults in the US fall into the category of hazardous and harmful drinkers.
According to Gmel, interventions that target only chronic high-volume drinkers will not be very effective in reducing injuries, because the majority of injuries occur in the much larger population of moderate drinkers.
The effective preventive measures include strict enforcement of drinking driving policies and the combined effort from the individual and at the level of the society.