Text Only | SAMHSA News Home

SAMHSA News - July/August 2006, Volume 14, Number 4

Drug Abuse Linked to 1.3 Million ER Visits

Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2004: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits - click to view reportA new SAMHSA report shows that among the nearly 2 million drug-related emergency department visits that occurred across the country in 2004, almost 1.3 million visits were associated with drug misuse or abuse.

The report, Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2004: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits, reveals that 30 percent of the 1.3 million drug-related emergency room visits involved only illicit drugs; 25 percent involved only prescription or over-the-counter medications; 8 percent involved alcohol only in patients under age 21; 15 percent involved illicit drugs and alcohol; 8 percent involved both illicit drugs and pharmaceuticals; and 14 percent involved illicit drugs, pharmaceuticals, and alcohol (all three types of drugs in one visit).

According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), cocaine was involved in an estimated 383,350 visits to emergency rooms in 2004; marijuana was involved in 215,665 visits; heroin was involved in 162,137 visits; stimulants, including amphetamines and methamphetamine, were involved in 102,843; and other illicit drugs such as PCP, Ecstasy, and GHB were involved with less frequency.

DAWN estimates that 495,732 visits to emergency rooms in 2004 related to non-medical use of prescription or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. More than half of these visits involved more than one drug (57 percent). Opiate and opioid analgesics (prescription pain relievers) and benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drugs) were the most frequent pharmaceuticals; they were involved in nearly one-third (32 percent and 29 percent) of non-medical-use visits.

The most frequently used of the prescription pain relievers were hydrocodone products (42,491 emergency room visits), oxycodone products (36,559 visits), and methadone (31,874 visits). Alprazolam (49,842 visits) and clonazepam (26,238 visits) were the most frequently used benzodiazepines.

DAWN measures alcohol in combination with illicit drugs for all ages, and alcohol alone in a patient under age 21, but not alcohol alone for those of legal drinking age. DAWN estimates show 96,809 emergency room visits involving alcohol for patients under age 21. There were 363,641 emergency department visits by persons of all ages involving the use of alcohol in combination with another substance.

For a copy of this report, call SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1 (800) 729-6686 (English and Spanish) or 1 (800) 487-4889 (TDD). Online, visit SAMHSA's Web site at http://dawninfo.samhsa.govEnd of Article

See Also—Previous Article

See Also—Next Article »

Back to Top


skip navigation
Inside This Issue

Preparedness Planning

Hurricane Recovery Guides Preparedness Planning
Part 1
Part 2

Post-Disaster Response: Learning from Research
Part 1
Part 2

Schools Offer Stability for Children of Disasters

Documentary Features New Orleans High School

Disaster Readiness Resources

Administrator Curie To Leave SAMHSA

From the Administrator: Reflections, Future Directions

SAMHSA Expands Matrix

Methamphetamine Jeopardizes Children's Welfare

Afghanistan, Iraq: SAMHSA Supports Mental Health Efforts

First Lady Reaches Out to Youth

Treatment Protocol Focuses on Detoxification

Curriculum on Restraint Reduction Available

Treatment Directory Updated

Drug Abuse Linked to 1.3 Million ER Visits

Spanish-Language Fotonovela

September Is Recovery Month!

Screening for Mental Illness in Nursing Homes

SAMHSA News Information

SAMHSA News - July/August 2006, Volume 14, Number 4