Alcohol-related ambulance callouts in Marlborough are triggered most often by teenagers, new research shows.
In a project being trialled in the top of the South Island, St John Ambulance and ACC have recorded the number of ambulance requests involving people who have been drinking.
In the six months from December 2012 to June this year, St John Ambulance was called to 137 alcohol-related incidents in Marlborough. Of those, 26 call-outs were for teens aged between 15 and 19.
Nine call-outs were made to people aged 75 and over.
People were more likely to need an ambulance at home, with more than half the call-outs to private homes.
St John district operations manager James McMeekin said the high number of alcohol-related callouts to people who had injured themselves at home was surprising.
People injured themselves in various ways at home, including tripping over items, burning themselves, and cutting themselves on glass doors or windows, Mr McMeekin said.
The severity of accidents ranged from minor to serious, but most were probably in the moderate range.
There could be a complacency suggesting that it was OK to drink at home compared with drinking in public, he said.
"There possibly is a mindset with the public that they believe it to be safe to drink at home."
The busiest time for call-outs was between 1am and 2am on Sundays.
December was the busiest time for alcohol-related callouts, with 28 incidents attended.
Blenheim led the way with 109 call-outs, followed by Picton with 21 and Havelock with 7.
Mr McMeekin was concerned about the impact alcohol consumption was having on the ambulance service.
"Too often our staff have to deal with the aftermath of binge drinking, the consequences of which are often severe."
To record the data, ambulance staff noted whether the patient was intoxicated. If there were no obvious signs of intoxication, the patient was asked if he or she had drunk alcohol in the past six hours.
The data in the survey was recorded anonymously.
ACC community injury prevention consultant Mark Preston-Thomas said people often assumed alcohol-related harm was largely associated with young people and bars.
The data would be used to build an accurate picture of alcohol-related harm in the region, and to help local injury prevention projects and the development of local alcohol plans.
"We know that alcohol is a contributing factor to many injuries."
The data would give authorities a much clearer idea of how bad the problem was, who was affected, and where and when, Mr Preston-Thomas said.
The idea for the study came from a group of people wanting to work together to make a difference in the community, who saw a need for accurate data, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News