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Patterns and correlates of drug-related ED visits: results from a national survey

Publication Abstract

Perron, Brian E., Amy S.B. Bohnert, Sarah E. Monsell, Michael G. Vaughn, Matthew Epperson, and Matthew O. Howard. 2011. "Patterns and correlates of drug-related ED visits: results from a national survey." American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 29(7): 704-710.

Purpose Drug treatment can be effective in community-based settings, but drug users tend to under-utilize these treatment options and instead seek services in emergency departments (ED) and other acute care settings. The goals of this study were to describe prevalence and correlates of drug-related ED visits.

Basic procedures This study used data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), which is a nationally representative survey of 43,093 U.S. residents.

Main findings The overall prevalence of drug-related ED visits among lifetime drug users was 1.8%; for those with a lifetime drug use disorder, 3.7%. Persons with heroin dependence and inhalant dependence had the highest rates of ED visits, and marijuana dependence was associated with the lowest rates. Multivariate analyses revealed that being socially connected (i.e., marital status) were protective factors against ED visits, whereas psychopathology (i.e., personality or mood disorders) were risk factors.

Conclusions Significant variability exists for risk of ED use for different types of drugs. These findings can help inform where links between EDs with local treatment programs can be formed to provide preventative care and injury-prevention interventions to reduce the risk of subsequent ED visits.

10.1016/j.ajem.2010.01.044

PMCID: PMC3011038. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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