Introduction and Aims
The province of Saskatchewan, Canada introduced minimum prices graded by alcohol strength in April 2010. As previous research found this intervention significantly decreased alcohol consumption and alcohol-attributable morbidity, we aim to test the association between the intervention and the rate of emergency department (ED) visits in four alcohol-related injury categories [motor vehicle collisions (MVC), assaults, falls and total alcohol-related injuries].
Design and Methods
Data on ED visits in the city of Regina were obtained from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health. Auto-regressive integrated moving average time series models were used to test the immediate and lagged effects of the pricing intervention on rates of alcohol-related nighttime. ED visits and controlled for daytime rates of ED visits, economic variables, linear and seasonal trends, and auto-regressive and moving average effects.
The implementation of an alcohol minimum pricing strategy in Saskatchewan was associated with decreased MVC-related ED visits for women aged 26 and over after a 6 month lag period (−39.4%, P < 0.001). There was no significant abrupt effect of this intervention on ED visits of four injury types in any of four gender-age categories; however, rates of ED visits among young males for MVCs and assaults decreased substantially during this study.
Discussion and Conclusions
The minimum pricing policy change led to a lagged decrease in motor vehicle-collision-related ED visits for women older than 25. Of note, there did not appear to be an instantaneous effect on the rate of alcohol-related injury ED visits immediately after the policy implementation nor lagged effects for other gender-age groups.
Adam Sherk, Tim Stockwell, Russell C. Callaghan
Drug and Alcohol Review, 12 February 2018