Finds alcohol consumption doesn’t lead to assaults
BOSTON -- Emergency room visits related to alcohol consumption spike in Boston when the hometown team wins the Super Bowl or other sports championships and on the day when the city celebrates with a victory parade, according to data released today by the Boston Public Health Commission. But, drinking does not necessarily translate into fighting, as assault-related ER visits generally show no significant increase during the celebrations.
Although the total number of ER visits doesn’t change, the number of visits related to alcohol notably increases. Predictably, the victory parade spurs more alcohol-related ER visits than the day or night when the championship is won, hospital surveillance data analyzed by the Public Health Commission show. On average, assault-related hospital visits number only about half of those for alcohol.
``Clearly, the data show that our town of titles has an effective public safety response when it comes to managing the euphoria that comes with winning championships,’’ said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission. ``And while it’s always important to remind people to drink in moderation, we are not seeing in Boston the horrendous consequences of excessive alcohol consumption that has enveloped some other cities.’’
The Public Health Commission analyzed hospital emergency room visits related to alcohol and assault for the Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA and NHL championship games from 2004 to this month when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup. Officials compared daily averages for ER visits for those illnesses to the count on the day that the Boston team won their championship and the day the city celebrated with a parade. The intent was to determine the impact of the celebrations on hospital emergency rooms.
The Bruins’ victory parade on June 18 generated the most alcohol-related hospital visits with 46, followed by 45 during the 2008 victory parade after the Celtics won the NBA championship. The 2007 parade after the Sox won the World Series generated the fewest alcohol-related ER visits with 20.
On the spectrum of assaults, 21 people - or three more than a typical Saturday - went to the ER for assault-related visits on the Bruins’ parade day, while only 8 went in 2004 on the day of the Patriots’ victory parade, which was 1.5 fewer visits than average.
``Considering the number of celebrants, the number of hospital visits for assaults is definitely not off the charts,’’ said Julia Gunn, who analyzed the data and is director of the Communicable Disease Control Division at the Boston Public Health Commission. ``Boston police deserve a lot of credit for that.’’
Click here to see the data