05:45pm Sunday 17 December 2017

Illicit drug related emergency department visits vary by metropolitan area

This new report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) was drawn from the agency’s Drug Abuse Warning Network – (DAWN), a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related emergency department visits throughout the nation. This information was collected from eleven metropolitan areas including Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Miami (Dade County and Fort Lauderdale Division), Minneapolis, New York (Five Boroughs Division), Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle.

“When friends, family members and health professionals miss the signs and symptoms of substance abuse the results can be devastating,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde.   “One consequence is the costly and inefficient use of emergency rooms as a first step to treatment.   Substance abuse prevention and early intervention can keep people off drugs in the first place and clear the path to healthier lifestyles.”

The emergency department findings were similar to the overall trend regarding visits related specifically to heroin use. Again Boston had the highest rate (251 per 100,000 population, followed by Chicago (216 per 100,000 population), New York City (153 per 100,000 population), Detroit (150 per 100,000 population) and Seattle (118 per 100,000 population).   The national average was 69 per 100,000.

The same differences were also evidenced between these major metropolitan areas and the national average when it came to rates of emergency department visits involving illicit drugs in combination with alcohol. New York City had the highest rate (223 per 100,000 population), followed by Boston (153 per 100,000 population), San Francisco (150 per 100,000 population), Chicago (120 per 100,000 population) and Detroit (112 per 100,000 population). The national average was 60 per 100,000 population.

This survey was developed by SAMHSA as part of its strategic initiative on data, outcomes, and quality – an effort to create integrated data systems that help inform policy makers and providers on behavioral health issues.

This survey is available on the web at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k11/WEB_DAWN_023/DAWN_023_IllicitDrugEDVisits_plain.pdf . For related publications and information, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/ .

SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.


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