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Mongan, Deirdre (2009) Alcohol's role in traumatic brain injury. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 30, Summer 2009 , p. 21.

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A recent study has reported that alcohol is associated with one in four traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in Ireland.1  Trauma is the leading cause of death in Irish people aged under 45, and for every traumatic brain injury death at least two people survive with a permanent disability, which has as yet unmeasured personal, societal and economic consequences.

This study analysed the records of 2,095 patients attending the two neurosurgical units in Ireland – Beaumont Hospital and Cork University Hospital – over a two-year period. Men were three times more likely to be injured than women and one in six patients was aged between 16 and 24 years. 

Factors contributing to TBI, including alcohol and drug use, were studied. Alcohol was involved in one in four TBIs. However, there was inadequate recording of alcohol use in 60% of medical notes, and 85% had no data on drug use. Only 1.3% of patients were documented as having used recreational drugs prior to sustaining their injury. 

Table 1   Involvement of alcohol in TBI according to accident type
Accident type
Alcohol involved
Injury at home
Road user injury
Alleged assault
Sports injury
All types
The authors’ recommendations include introducing awareness strategies to highlight the increased risk of serious injury associated with alcohol use. The report also suggested that drug use and its impact on TBIs is an area which needs improved documentation and further exploration.
1. Traumatic Brain Injury Research Group (2008) National report on traumatic brain injury in the Republic of Ireland 2008. Phillips report. Dublin: Traumatic Brain Injury Research Group

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