Purpose: The association between acute alcohol intoxication among adolescents and the COVID-19 lockdown has been studied previously in Trieste, Italy. They recommended that emergency services should be prepared for a potential peak of alcohol intoxication–related emergencies among adolescents as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. Therefore, this study investigated the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the prevalence of acute alcohol intoxication among adolescents in the Netherlands. Methods: To determine both the prevalence and characteristics of adolescents admitted for acute alcohol intoxication in 2019–2020, a retrospective cohort study was conducted. All adolescents <18 years of age admitted for acute alcohol intoxication in the 12 participating hospitals in the Netherlands in 2019–2020 were included. Adolescents were divided in periods before, during, and subsequent to the first COVID-19 lockdown and the beginning of the second lockdown, in comparison with the same periods in 2019. Results: The prevalence of acute alcohol intoxication among adolescents decreased by 70% during the first lockdown (March 16–May 31, 2020) compared with the period before lockdown (January 1–March 15, 2020). Between the first lockdown phase and the reopening period (June 1–October 14, 2020), the prevalence significantly increased. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that COVID-19 lockdown led to a decrease in acute alcohol intoxication among adolescents. This decrease is multifactorial, including the closure of bars/restaurants, sport clubs, schools and increased parental supervision due to obligatory working from home of parents. Based on the findings, this specific population requires close monitoring, especially in the reopening phases.
The authors would like to thank the 12 participating hospitals for helping us with data collection. Special thanks go to all the pediatricians who participated in the data collection process. The preventive steps undertaken by the Dutch government would simply not have been possible without their commitment to collecting the data used in this study.
© 2021 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine