Characteristics of Adolescents With Acute Alcohol Intoxication: Role of Population Density

Joris J. van Hoof* (Corresponding Author), Claire J. Schreurs, Nico van der Lely

*Corresponding author for this work

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The aim of this study was to investigate the possible differences between adolescents with an acute alcohol intoxication living in high- and low-population-density areas. Data were used from the Dutch Pediatric Surveillance System, which monitors acute alcohol intoxication among treated adolescents. During treatment, questionnaires are completed by the pediatricians involved, covering socio-demographic characteristics and circumstantial and treatment data. Adolescents eligible for inclusion in the current study had to be under the age of 18 years and have a positive blood alcohol concentration, and the living region was known. This resulted in analyzing data from the years 2007 until 2015, with a total of 4,895 questionnaires. This study shows that treated adolescents who are living in a high-population-density area are significantly younger (15.3 versus 15.5 years) and have a lower blood alcohol concentration at admittance (1.86 versus 1.90 g/l). The patients in the high-population-density areas are less from an autochthonous Dutch origin (86.0% versus 90.7%) and are more often enrolled in a higher educational level (45.4% versus 38.1%). Adolescents in urban areas drink more on the streets (27.7% versus 16.3%), in contrast to those living in a lower-population-density area, who drink in a bar or comparable place. Adolescents living is urban areas are overrepresented in the intoxication sample. This article is the first to describe the differences between alcohol-intoxicated adolescents in high- and low-population-density areas in the Netherlands. These findings are important for the awareness of alcohol abusers, and the design of future prevention strategies.Key messages Demographic, drinking, and intoxication characteristics during alcohol intoxication treatment differ for youngsters coming from high- and low-population-density areas. Youngsters from low-population areas turn out to be older, lower educated, more often Dutch, and drink more in bars, than their counterparts from high-population-density areas. Youngsters from lower density areas have higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, and more often have parental approval to drink. Hospitalization periods are equal for both groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • blood alcohol content
  • pediatric hospital treatment
  • population density
  • alcohol intoxication


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