Is population flow an unintended consequence of alcohol management plans?

Kim Usher, Cindy Woods, Paul Lynch, Shane Boris Pointing, Lea Budden, Ruth Barker, Jesani Catchpoole, Alan Clough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: The aim of this study was to gauge whether, and to what extent, population flow occurred as a result of the implementation of alcohol management plans in Indigenous communities. Background: Alcohol management plans involving carriage limits and dry places were introduced into 15 Queensland Indigenous communities between 2002–2004. Controls on alcohol availability were further tightened between 2008–2010, seeing the closure of eight mainly remote community taverns/canteens. Design: A retrospective observational study was undertaken using data from the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit. Methods: Population flow was measured by changing patterns of alcohol-related injuries in a mining region near dry Indigenous communities following the introduction of alcohol management plans and a control mining region distant from Indigenous communities with alcohol management plans. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Logistic regression was used for the comparison of the characteristics between the emergency department presentations. The rates of alcohol-related injury presentations per 1000/population were calculated and age-standardised to the Australian population. Results: Between the five-year periods 2003–2007 and 2008–2012, alcohol-related injury presentations to the Mount Isa emergency department trebled from an age-adjusted average annual rate of 9·5/1000 in the region's population to 27·1/1000 population. In the control region, alcohol-related emergency department injury presentations did not increase to the same degree with age-adjusted average annual rates of 1·42/1000 and 2·21/1000, respectively. Conclusions: The 10-year pattern of emergency department presentations for alcohol-related injuries increased significantly in the Mount Isa region compared with the control region. Further research should investigate the impacts of population flow related to Indigenous community alcohol management plans. Relevance to clinical practice: Although initiatives such as alcohol management plans have been implemented to reduce alcohol use and related consequences in Indigenous communities, there needs to be a greater consideration of the impact of these policies in nearby towns in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-677
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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