Marijuana use and prior injury among injured problem drinkers

Robert Woolard, Ted D. Nirenberg, Bruce Becker, Richard Longabaugh, P. Allison Minugh, Aruna Gogineni, Kathleen Carty, Patrick R. Clifford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purpose of this paper is to better understand marijuana use among injured problem drinkers in the emergency department (ED). The specific objectives are: 1) to assess the prevalence of marijuana use; 2) to identify factors associated with marijuana use; 3) to determine whether prior injury is associated with marijuana use; and 4) to determine whether marijuana-using problem drinkers want to change behaviors. Methods: The authors conducted a post-hoc analysis on data obtained prospectively. Subjects had injury and problem drinking: either measurable alcohol level (blood alcohol concentration, BAC), report of drinking, or an Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) score of ≥8. The study was conducted on weekend nights; 3, 776 injured ED patients were screened, 383 refused, 578 were enrolled, and 433 had complete data. Results: Of the 433 subjects, 48.3% reported using marijuana in the three months prior. Marijuana-using problem drinkers had more hazardous drinking, higher AUDIT scores (14.0 vs. 11.4, p < 0.001), and higher risk-taking scores (12.4 vs. 10.1, p < 0.001). More used other drugs (69.7% vs. 30.3%, p < 0.001). In regression analyses, marijuana use remained an independent predictor of prior injury (OR = 2.16, 95% CI = 1.25 to 3.75), particularly prior alcohol-related (OR = 2.26, 95% CI = 1.45 to 3.53) and motor-vehicle-related (OR = 1.69, 95% CI = 1.03 to 2.79) injury. Readiness-to-change scores were similar (4.14 vs. 4.22, p = 0.21) between users and nonusers. Conclusions: Marijuana use among injured problem drinkers is prevalent. Their risk of prior injury is increased. Counseling for alcohol and injury should address marijuana use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine


  • Alcohol use
  • Brief intervention
  • Emergency medicine
  • Injury prevention
  • Marijuana use
  • Substance abuse

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