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.
AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) (2021) Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2018, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 28 July 2021.
AIHW (2022a) Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 18 July 2022.
AIHW (2022b) Injury in Australia, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 18 July 2022.
Better Health (2022) How alcohol affects your body, Victorian Government, accessed 21 August 2022.
Department of Health and Aged Care (2022) What are the effects of alcohol?, DHAC, Australian Government, accessed 28 July 2022.
Queensland Government (2023) Effects of alcohol, accessed 13 February 2023.