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Does Budweiser Lead in Alcohol-Related ER Visits?

In a word, no, Budweiser is not necessarily the number one drink when it comes all alcohol-related ER visits. But an NBC News might make you think otherwise.

The news outlet reported that Budweiser constituted 15% of alcohol-related injuries treated at the emergency room, compared to other alcohol, such as Colt 45 and Bud Ice, citing a (very) preliminary study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. As far as the types of injuries that led to a hospital visit in the first place, NBC News wasn't specific. However, Budweiser, we're told, is apparently the most popular brand of the 400 or so brands listed on the survey.

The press release (titled "Pilot Study Finds ER Patients Drinking High-Octane Beer") from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY), where the researchers are based at Johns Hopkins, is no more clarifying on exactly what types of injuries are sustained. But it also pointed out that four malt liquors amounted to 46% of the beer consumed by the patients surveyed for research.

The study is based on a small pool of respondents, 105 patients at one hospital in a predominantly black neighborhood in Baltimore. The survey was conducted on Friday and Saturday nights for a little over a year, from April 2010, to June 2011. Moreover, the director of the study, David Jernigan, told NBC News that "no conclusions could be made about beer or malt liquor advertising, pricing, or even consumption based on the study since it was too small."

The point of the whole study was to show that research into alcohol marketing and its effect on targeted demographics is feasible. And in turn, that this could potentially "help guide policy makers in considering taxation and physical availability of different types of alcohol given the harms associated with them," says Jernigan in the CAMY press release.

That much was hinted on NBC News, but ultimately glossed over in the beginning of the article, which has now been picked up by various outlets from The Atlantic to msnNOW. It seems Anheuser-Busch should redirect its attention from a battle with Coors over the latter's claim as having the "world's most refreshing can" and focus on some damage control.

And whereas we probably shouldn't be concerned about a greater probability of landing at the ER due to one Budweiser too many, please drink sensibly, regardless of brand.

And in related news:

- Get Drunk Off The Dregs: Scientists Turn Coffee Grounds Into Alcoholic Beverage

- New Faces of Targeted Beer Drinkers: Joe College and Hipsters


Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Follow the author on Twitter at @chrstnchiao.

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