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The effectiveness of Liquor legislation to reduce facial injury from alcohol related assaults in Australia


A study investigated whether the regional implementation of prohibitive liquor legislation to limit the sale of and access to alcohol in Australia, led to a sustained reduction in the incidence of assault resulting in facial injury, as seen in patients presenting to a level 1 trauma hospital.

A retrospective observational cohort study was conducted to document patients who were identified as an acute hospital presentation of assault occasioning facial injury. The period of study was 2003-2015; this ensured a similar period of time before and after the implementation of the legislation in 2008.

A statistical analysis was undertaken to assess the rates of change in oral and maxillofacial (OMF) assault admissions pre and post legislation. The study found that pre-legislation numbers of OMF assaults increased at a rate of 14% per annum and then decreased at a rate of 21% per annum post legislation (31% relative rate ratio reduction). Similar trends were seen for all males, males aged 18-35 years, and males where alcohol was recorded at clinical presentation.

The introduction of ‘last drinks’ and ‘lock out’ legislation has led to a significant and sustained reduction in assaultive alcohol related facial injury in Newcastle, the study finds.

Source: “Liquor legislation, last drinks, and lockouts: the Newcastle (Australia) solution” Hoffman GR; Palazzi K; Oteng Boateng BK; Oldmeadow C, International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Published early online 21 February 2017.

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