Sobering Substance Abuse Data

Monday, June 21st, 2010
This post was written by Patricia Donovan

There was some sobering news on substance abuse last week that is straining hospital emergency departments and substance abuse treatment facilities.

Visits to hospital emergency departments involving nonmedical use of prescription narcotic pain relievers more than doubled, rising 111 percent, between 2004 and 2008, according to a SAMHSA/CDC report released last week. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado has some innovative strategies for dealing with chemical dependency patients who show up in their emergency department, as you’ll read in this week’s issue of Healthcare Business Weekly Update. Kaiser’s Sara Gray, senior manager of emergency services, shared a dozen strategies to reduce preventable ER visits during a webinar earlier this month.

Also, the proportion of substance abuse treatment admissions involving older Americans (aged 50 and older) nearly doubled from 1992 to 2008. Get the details on this SAMHSA study — including the startling increases in cocaine and heroin abuse by this age group — in this week’s issue.

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