Performance Improvement 2007. How Many Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits Were There in the United States During 2004?



Data on drug-related emergency department visits are collected on an ongoing basis as part of the Drug Abuse Warning Network from a national sample of general, non-Federal hospitals operating 24-hour emergency departments. National estimates for 2004 are based on data submitted by 417 hospitals. In participating hospitals, medical records are reviewed retrospectively to find emergency department visits that were related to recent drug use. All emergency department visits where a drug was implicated are included, regardless of the reason the patient took the drug. Emergency department visits related to drug abuse/misuse, as well as adverse reactions to drugs taken as prescribed/directed, drug-related suicide attempts, accidental ingestions, underage drinking, and malicious poisonings are captured in this data system. All types of drugs (illegal, prescription, over-the-counter, etc.) are included.

The study found that there were an estimated 106 million emergency department visits in the United States during 2004. Of these, almost 2 million were drug-related and nearly 1.3 million emergency department visits were associated with drug misuse or abuse. Of those involving drug misuse or abuse, 30 percent involved illicit drugs only, 25 percent involved pharmaceuticals (prescription or over-the-counter medications) only, 15 percent involved illicit drugs and alcohol, 8 percent involved illicit and pharmaceuticals, and 14 percent involved illicit drugs and/or alcohol and pharmaceuticals.

Report Title: Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2004: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits
Agency Sponsor: SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Federal Contact: Ball, Judy, 240-276-1250
Performer: RTI International; Research Triangle Park, NC
PIC ID: 8307

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"PerformanceImprovement2007.pdf" (pdf, 717.63Kb)

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