Differences between snakebites with concomitant use of alcohol or drugs and single snakebites

Joann Schulte, Kurt C. Kleinschmidt, Kristina Domanski, Eric Anthony Smith, Ashley Haynes, Brett Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: Published reports have suggested that the concurrent use of alcohol or drugs occurs among some snakebite victims, but no national assessment of such data exists. Methods: We used data from US poison control centers collected during telephone calls in calendar years 2000-2013 to compare snake envenomations with concomitant use of drugs, alcohol, or both to snakebites lacking such use. Results: A total of 608 snakebites with 659 instances of concomitant alcohol/drug use were reported, which represent approximately 1% of 92,751 snakebites reported to US poison control centers. An annual mean of 48 snakebites with concomitant use of alcohol/drugs was reported, compared with a mean of 6625 snakebites per year with no concomitant use of alcohol/drugs. Most cases involved men, peaked during the summer months, and involved copperheads or rattlesnakes, which mirrored overall trends. Snakebite victims who also used alcohol/drugs were more likely than victims with only a snakebite reported to be bitten by rattlesnakes, to be admitted to the hospital, and die. Alcohol was the most common reported concomitant substance, but other substances were reported. Conclusions: Snakebites with concomitant use of alcohol/drugs are uncommon, accounting for approximately 1% of the snakebite envenomations reported annually to US poison control centers; however, snakebite victims also reporting alcohol/drug use are more likely to be bitten by rattlesnakes, be admitted to a healthcare facility, and die.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-117
Number of pages5
JournalSouthern medical journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Poison control centers
  • Snakebite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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