Increased Middle-Aged Adult’s Drug And Alcohol Abuse Visits To The ER
A new report shows a rise in U.K. hospital emergency room visits by adults in their forties for drug or alcohol issues. The country’s health providers are determined to continue tackling the issue of drug and alcohol abuse as they strive to lower the rate of substance abuse.
The report came from data firm Dr Foster Intelligence. The group used ER admissions records as the basis for who is most often abusing drugs and alcohol and how often that abuse reaches the level of required hospitalization. According to their 2013 Hospital Guide:
Hospitalizations For Drug And Alcohol Abuse
- 19 percent of ER admissions of 40-44 year olds were directly related to alcohol or drug use. That figure was highest among all age groups.
- 18 percent of 45-49 year old admissions were for the same alcohol or drug reasons.
- In 2002-2003 the average age for a binge-drinking related hospitalization was 16 years. By 2004-2005 the typical age was 19. In 2012-13 the average age of those entering the hospital for binge drinking was 32 years.
- Despite the rise in average age for binge drinking ER visits, adolescents and young adults remain the most apt to need hospital care for binging.
Based on the Dr Foster report, young people are revealing more wisdom than their parents. Part of the problem is that an alarming number of patients don’t seem to be finding their way to recovery:
- The typical age of a person needing hospitalization for drugs or alcohol reasons in 2002-2003 was 41 years. In 2012-2013 the typical age was 43.
- Dr Foster found that over 500,000 individuals needed hospitalization for their alcohol or drug abuse at least one time during the past three years.
- At least 120,000 of those admitted to the hospital were 40-something years old. That is double the number of folks in their 20s or 60s who needed hospital care for drugs or alcohol.
Repeat ER Visits For Drugs Or Alcohol
Looking at all hospital admittances for alcohol or drugs in 2012-2013 a surprising 36 percent had already been admitted more than one time for the same problem in the past. And five percent had been in the hospital for drug or alcohol issues five times or more.
The problem appears to be most acute among the poor in Britain, with 36 percent of ER visits coming from the poorest regions of the country, and only nine percent of them coming from wealthy sections of the population.
A Dr Foster spokesman said that their figures were likely on the low end of actual numbers. The group only used hospital admittances where alcohol or drugs were 100 percent responsible. Left out were the high number of other admissions where substances played a key role.
Turning The Substance Abuse Hospital Visit Problem Around
Healthcare workers and National Health Services spokespeople say that there are ways to turn the problem around. For example, in 22 percent of the hospitalizations no general practitioner was listed on the health form. This could indicate that people are attempting to hide their problem from their primary care doctor rather than use them as a resource. If primary care doctors would use the NHS Healthcheck guide as a screening tool for substance abuse, more cases might be able to be treated before they reached a critical stage.
Hospitals also intend to implement more direct interventions by health professionals. Placing nurses who function as alcohol liaisons in the ER is one way to accomplish that goal.
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