Substance abuse and maxillofacial injuries
Morkel, Jean A.
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Some of the major causes of maxillofacial injuries are assault/ inter-personal violence (IPV), motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), work-related injuries, sporting accidents and falls. However, the epidemiological data for the different types of injury vary significantly and are influenced by geographic location, socioeconomic status, the time of year when patients are assessed and the type of facility where the study is conducted. The 2012 Statistics South Africa's release document on 'mortality and causes of death in South Africa' indicated that 9.8% of all deaths in South Africa were reported as nonnatural. Transport accidents were the third most common (11.2%) reported cause of non-natural deaths followed by assaults at 10.2%. According to a number of international studies, the face is the most common site affected by assault- related trauma. Substance abuse is a major public health concern in South Africa and has also been rated as the leading health problem in the United States. Intoxication is also the most common denominator associated with violence and injury. In a Swiss study, Eggensperger found that almost a quarter of assault-related facial fractures were caused by people intoxicated with alcohol, illicit drugs or a combination thereof. This article explores epidemiologic data and relevant information related to maxillofacial trauma, specifically associated with alcohol and substance abuse.