Skip to main content

Using a Syndromic Approach to Monitor Alcohol-Related Visits of College-Aged Emergency Department Patients


According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) surveillance of drug-related ED visits, underage (B21 years) alcohol-alone visit rates have been increasing since 2004 to 2009 (1). Similarly, the ‘‘alcohol’’ syndrome for underage (12-20 years) ED visits also shows an overall increase from 2003 to 2009 in the percentage of alcohol-related visits (2). College-aged drinkers tend to binge drink at a higher frequency than the general population, putting them at greater risk for unintentional injuries and unsafe sex practices (3). Identifying collegespecific patterns for alcohol-associated morbidity have important policy implications to reduce excessive drinking and associated harms on and around college campuses.


To develop and implement a method for using emergency department records from a syndromic surveillance system to identify alcohol-related visits in New York City, estimate trends, and describe age-specific patterns. In particular, we are interested in college-aged morbidity patterns and how they differ from other age groups.

Submitted by elamb on