Using a Syndromic Surveillance System to Evaluate the Impact of a Change in Alcohol Law
In 2011, Washington State voters passed an initiative which closed state liquor stores and opened private sector liquor sales. We examined trends in alcohol-related emergency department (ED) visits associated with this law change. Data were from the King County syndromic surveillance system. Alcohol-related ED visits were identified using chief complaint search strings and diagnosis codes. We used a linear regression model with a spline at the date of law change and controlled for other factors. Significant increases in alcohol-related ED visits were observed associated with the law change among minors (age <21) and adults ages 40 and older.