Population considerations

  • Increase in risk.  Alcohol lowers one’s ability to focus and visual clarity which contribute to falls. Among the elderly, alcohol can also interact with various medications to heighten dizziness and vertigo (Hingson, 1993). Drinking is strongly associated with unintentional falls at home that result in admission to hospital or death. A substantial proportion of falls at home among working-age people can be attributed to alcohol consumption (Kool, 2008). Alcohol-related impairment of attention, perception and judgment may place drinkers at an increased risk of accidental injury (Cherpitel, 1994). The likelihood of injury from a fall was observed to increase with greater alcohol consumption (Cherpitel, 1994). Risks were greatly increased even at low levels of consumption (Kuendig, 2008).

  Strategies to address these considerations

  • Recognition of problem. Alcohol-related falls are a largely unrecognized problem that should be addressed in falls prevention programs (Kool, 2008). Preventive actions should not be limited to addressing risks associated with high levels of consumption (Kuendig, 2008). Unlike the traffic safety area, there have been few studies that examine interventions to reduce alcohol-related falls (Hingson, 1993).
  • Improve policy. There is an urgent need for policies and prevention strategies aimed at reducing the contribution of alcohol to the injury-related burden of diseases (Kuendig, 2008).

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