Housing status and additional social determinants of health are important data for clinicians and policy makers to design and implement effective interventions for emergency department (ED) patients with unhealthy alcohol use (UAU).
We surveyed patients in an urban, safety-net ED from June to August 2018. UAU was assessed by a validated single-item screening question endorsed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Housing status was assessed using items validated for housing stability.
Seven hundred fifty-eight patients completed the survey (60% response rate), and 296 (39%; 95% confidence interval: 36%–43%) reported UAU. Patients with and without UAU had the same rates of ED visits (median 2, interquartile range: 1–4; P = 0.69) and hospitalizations (median 0, interquartile range: 0–0; P = 0.31) in the 12 months before index visit. Patients with UAU were more likely to lack stable housing compared to patients without UAU (69% vs 59%; P = 0.006). Illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse was more common in patients with UAU compared to those without UAU (29% vs 14%, P