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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A time series analysis of presentations to Queensland health facilities for alcohol-related conditions, following the increase in ‘alcopops’ tax

In response to concerns about the health consequences of high-risk drinking by young people, the Australian Government increased the tax on pre-mixed alcoholic beverages (‘alcopops’) favoured by this demographic. We measured changes in admissions for alcohol-related harm to health throughout Queensland, before and after the tax increase in April 2008. 
We used data from the Queensland Trauma Register, Hospitals Admitted Patients Data Collection, and the Emergency Department Information System to calculate alcohol-related admission rates per 100,000 people, for 15 – 29 year-olds. We analysed data over 3 years (April 2006 – April 2009), using interrupted time-series analyses. This covered 2 years before, and 1 year after, the tax increase. We investigated both mental and behavioural consequences (via F10 codes), and intentional/unintentional injuries (S and T codes). 
We fitted an auto-regressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model, to test for any changes following the increased tax. There was no decrease in alcohol-related admissions in 15 – 29 year-olds. We found similar results for males and females, as well as definitions of alcohol-related harms that were narrow (F10 codes only) and broad (F10, S and T codes). 
The increased tax on ‘alcopops’ was not associated with any reduction in hospital admissions for alcohol-related harms in Queensland 15 – 29 year-olds.

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