Budweiser, Steel Reserve Most Likely Beers to Send Someone to ER: Study

Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 02:55 PM

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Budweiser is the No. 1 beverage behind alcohol-related emergency room visits, according to a small study conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

"Recent studies reveal that nearly a third of injury visits to Level I trauma centers were alcohol-related and frequently a result of heavy drinking," lead study author David Jernigan, director of The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a press release. "Understanding the relationship between alcohol brands and their connection to injury may help guide policy makers in considering taxation and physical availability of different types of alcohol given the harms associated with them."

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The study, which was published in Substance Use and Misuse on Aug. 1, is the first of its kind that looks at what brands patients drank before they ended up in the ER, the authors say.

Overall, 105 patients at the Johns Hopkins Hospital emergency department in Baltimore on Friday and Saturday nights between April 2010 and June 2011 admitted to drinking before their ER visit. The majority were men and African-American, consistent with the demographics of the area, according to CBS News.

Of the patients who said they drank alcohol, 15 percent admitted to drinking Budweiser beer.

Nationally, 9.1 percent of Americans drink the brand, the authors noted.

Budweiser has an alcohol content of 5 percent.

The next most prevalent alcoholic beverage among patients – 14.7 percent – was the malt liquor Steel Reserve.

Steel Reserve makes up 0.8 percent of the U.S. beer market, and contains 8.1 percent alcohol content, according to CBS.

The other most popular beers were Colt 45, Bud Ice, and Bud Light.

The four most common malt liquors that were consumed — Steel Reserve, Colt 45, Bud Ice and King Cobra — made up almost 46 percent of the alcohol brands consumed by the subjects. But these four brands only account for 2.4 percent of national sales.

Outside of beer, vodka, gin, brandy, and cognac were popular drink choices among those who ended up in the ER.

The authors suggested there should be better labeling on malt liquor beverages and less marketing. They also recommend a higher tax on beverages with higher alcohol content to discourage people from drinking more potent brands.

Taxation might have an impact. A recent study in "Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research" showed that male smokers who were subjected to a cigarette tax increase drank 11 percent less on an average night out and had seven fewer binge sessions over the course of a year, compared to male smokers who didn't experience a tax increase, according to CBS.

The authors hope to expand the study and look at ERs in other cities.

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