There has been an "alarming increase" in the number of people who have presented to Canberra emergency departments on weekend nights due to alcohol-associated harm, new data has shown.
New findings released by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, has prompted the organisation to call for urgent action "in the interests of community safety".
On Friday and Saturday nights, almost one in three patients (29.1 per cent) at Calvary Hospital and one in five at Canberra Hospital (20.8 per cent) had consumed alcohol in the 12 hours before requiring treatment.
Patients were treated for a variety of alcohol-associated symptoms including intoxication, suicidal attempts or thoughts, abdominal pain, open wounds and fractures.
The data was collected as part of the ongoing Driving Change project led by Professor Peter Miller at the Deakin University.
The collection was over a two month period between May and March this year. The project asked all adults who presented to the emergency departments if they had drank alcohol before attendance, where the alcohol was bought and the location of the last drink.
The most common venue patients reported as their place of last drinks was Mooseheads. This was followed by Mr Wolf, Civic Pub and the Hellenic Club.
But the researchers suggested pre-drinking was the main culprit. Almost 50 per cent of patients at both hospitals, had consumed packaged liquor from a supermarket, bottle shop or wine merchant. This number could "likely" be under-reported as a number of people could not recall the purchase location or refused to respond.
Over the entire two-month period, 2.9 per cent of attendees at Calvary and 5.2 per cent at Canberra Hospital were there after consuming alcohol.
The data is based on answers from almost 18,000 adult attendances at the emergency departments over the two months.
It is the second release of data from the Canberra emergency departments from the project and it showed a significant increase on the previous collection.
Figures obtained over a three month period earlier in the year found 15.8 per cent of patients on Friday and Saturday nights at Calvary and 13.5 per cent at Canberra Hospital were there after alcohol consumption.
Australasian College for Emergency Medicine president John Bonning said alcohol-related harm posed a risk to medical professionals and other patients.
"The harm caused by the abuse of alcohol represents not just threats to an individual patient's health but to other patients in the ED as well as the broader public," he said.
"For medical professionals, it means an increased risk of assaults and physical and verbal threats from intoxicated patients and those accompanying them, all while they're simply trying to do their jobs in already stressful and strained environments.
Dr Bonning called for government regulation.
"Having to put up with this every single weekend is incredibly confronting, stressful and draining. We are all fed up and it is clear that strong leadership is needed to better regulate the availability of alcohol. Venues and retailers need to act responsibly and in the interests of community safety," he said.
"Clearly there are cultural attitudes which need to shift, but regulation is also required to tackle the way alcohol is so readily available and heavily promoted."
In addition to Calvary and Canberra hospitals, there are participating hospitals in Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney and Warrnambool.