Scientists blame climate change for the rise in alcohol and drug use.
A team from Columbia University analyzed hospital rates in New York state from 1995 to 2014 and found an increase with warmer temperatures.
Researchers suggested that alcohol-related visits may be caused by people’s tendency to consume more substances and sweat more in pleasant outdoor weather, leading to dehydration.
For other drug use, including cannabis, cocaine, opioids and tranquilizers, higher temperatures also resulted in more hospital visits, but only up to a limit of 65.8°F.
Researchers suggested that alcohol-related visits may be caused by people’s tendency to consume more substances and perspire more in pleasant outdoor weather, leading to dehydration
The study authors note that their study may underestimate the link between temperature increase and substance use, because the most serious conditions may have led to deaths before a hospital visit was possible.
First author Robbie M. Parks said: ‘We saw that during periods of higher temperatures there was a corresponding increase in hospital visits related to alcohol and substance use, which also draws attention to some of the less obvious potential impacts of climate change.’
The team used data of 671,625 alcohol and 721,469 hospital visits for alcohol and substance-related conditions over twenty years, compared to a record of daily temperatures and relative humidity.
This allowed them to create a statistical model of days with high temperatures and nearby days with lower temperatures to understand the impact of short-term climate-related phenomena, such as periods of increased heat.
For other drug use, including cannabis, cocaine, opioids and sedatives, higher temperatures also resulted in more hospital visits, but only up to a limit of 65.8°F
Data showed that hospital visits for alcohol-related conditions increased by 24 percent at higher temperatures, while drug-related visits increased by as much as 42 percent
Researchers found that the higher the temperatures, the more hospital visits for alcohol-related conditions.
Data showed that hospital visits for alcohol-related conditions increased by 24 percent at higher temperatures, while drug-related visits increased by as much as 42 percent.
‘Men made up the majority of hospital visits regardless of cause, from 53 percent for sedative use to 63 percent for alcohol-related disorders, the study said.
Most hospital visits were inpatient visits, from 68 percent of cannabis hospital visits to 87 percent of sedative hospital visits. Most hospital visits were also not in NYC, from 53 percent of hospital visits for cocaine and opioids to 67 percent for cannabis.”
Senior author Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou said: ‘Public health interventions that broadly target alcohol and substance use disorders in warmer weather – for example, targeted messaging about the risks of their consumption during warmer weather – should be a public health priority.’
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) shared 2022 data showing that the highest alcohol-related hospitalizations were reported in July, August and May.
In the US, many Americans start summer in May, which could explain a spike in hospital visits.
Doctors blame climate change for health problems; a Canadian medical professional pointed out that this is the cause of a patient’s asthma.
This was determined after an unprecedented heat wave and poor air quality contributed to the person’s deteriorating health.
Dr. Kyle Merritt, who works at a hospital in Nelson, British Columbia, said environmental hazards led him to make his first clinical diagnosis of “climate change” after treating a patient who was having trouble breathing.
“If we don’t look at the underlying cause and only treat the symptoms, we will fall further and further behind,” the emergency room doctor told Glacier Media.
“I’m just trying to… process what I’m seeing.”
And in July, another group of experts from Canada said climate change is accelerating the rate of blindness.
Researchers from the University of Toronto compared the number of vision problems among 1.7 million people in all 50 US states.
They found that those who lived in warmer regions were up to almost 50 percent more likely to have severe vision impairment than those who lived in cooler regions.