Main Article Content
Alcohol use, Alcohol use disorder, Perception of alcohol use, Road Traffic Accidents, Road Safety
Background: Alcohol plays a significant role in road traffic accidents in Ghana. However, little is known about the perspectives of victims who suffer road traffic accidents, RTAs, and the extent to which alcohol use disorder is involved.
Methods: We conducted a three-month cross-sectional study in a teaching hospital involving 102 patients involved in a road accident and presented to the hospital’s emergency. The Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test, AUDIT, was used to assess for Alcohol Use Disorder, AUD, at a score of 8. In addition, we used open-ended questionnaires to assess their perception of alcohol use and road accidents.
Results: Of the 102 respondents, 75% were males, and 60% were between 15 and 35 years. About 69% of respondents admitted to using alcohol, while 31%, including a single female, screened positive for alcohol use disorder. A significant majority of about 90% of respondents believed in some myths of alcohol use in Ghana, and a similar percentage were aware of the risks alcohol use posed to road use. Over 30% of respondents, mainly drivers or riders, had used alcohol within 12 hours of the accident. All but three respondents knew alcohol-induced aggression and poor coordination of movements. A similar number of respondents knew alcohol made people cross roads carelessly and were hyperactive or disinhibited.
Conclusion: Alcohol use and alcohol use disorder are significantly high among persons presenting with RTA to the emergency. Knowledge of the deleterious effects of alcohol is high, yet their behavior did not reflect the knowledge. Therefore, a significant reduction in RTA can be achieved by enforcing blood alcohol concentration limits for road users and intensive education to the populace.
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