About alcohol-related injury

In 2019–20, alcohol-related injury hospitalisations accounted for 5.7% of all injury hospitalisations and 14% of all injury deaths (AIHW 2022c).

In 2019–20, alcohol-related injuries resulted in:

30,000 hospitalisations in 2019–20
118 per 100,000 population

1,950 deaths in 2019–20
7.7 per 100,000 population

Alcohol use is a major cause of preventable disease, illness and death in Australia (AIHW 2022a). The 2018 Australian Burden of Disease study found that alcohol use is the fifth-ranked preventable risk factor, contributing to 4.5% of the total burden of disease (AIHW 2021).

Excessive alcohol consumption can have both long-term and short-term health impacts. Long-term impacts include damage to organs such as the liver, brain and heart; cancer, mental ill health; and injury (Department of Health and Aged Care 2022, AIHW 2022a).

Short-term impacts include alcohol poisoning, hangovers, decreased coordination and inhibition, and an increase in risky behaviour or interpersonal conflict, which can increase the risk of injury (Better Health 2022; Department of Health and Aged Care 2022, Queensland Government 2023).

The alcohol-related injuries explored in this report may have long-term or short-term impacts on health and wellbeing.

Injuries are harm that is a direct result of an environmental event, circumstance, or condition. Most injury events are preventable (AIHW 2022b).

Injuries may be:

  • unintentional – causes include accidental poisoning, choking and suffocation, contact with living things, contact with objects, drowning and submersion, falls, burns and transport accidents
  • intentional – caused by assault, homicide, intentional self-harm and suicide
  • of undetermined intent.

Further details on each of these causes of injury are included in Injury in Australia.