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DAWN 2000 Report

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Published On: July 25, 2001          Posted On: December 29, 2001
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

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DAWN 2000 Report

The year-end 2000 report from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) showed that:

1.    in 2000 there were an estimated 601,776 drug-related emergency department visits in the continental United States with 1,100,539 mentions of a particular drug (on average, 1.8 drugs per visit). 

2.    There was no statistically significant change on a national level between 1999 and 2000 in the number of emergency department visits or the number of drugs mentioned.  

3.    Among 21 metropolitan areas covered by DAWN, 7 had increases, 2 had decreases, and 12 had no change in drug related emergency department visits from 1999 to 2000.  

4.    The reasons cited for the drug-related emergency department visits in 2000 were: Dependence (217,224, or 36 percent of visits), Suicide (193,061, or 32 percent), and Overdose (264,240 or 44 percent of visits).  Visits involving overdose increased 14 percent (from 232,283 to 264,240).  

5.    Detoxification:  Visits involving patients seeking detoxification increased 24 percent (from 72,960 to 90,625).

6.    Adolescents:  Total drug related emergency department visits increased 20 percent for adolescent patients age 12 to 17 (from 52,783 to 63,448).

7.    Young Adults:  Total drug related emergency department visits increased 13 percent for young adult patients age 18 to 25 (from 109,580 to 123,438), but remained stable for older age groups. 

8.    Females:  Total drug-related emergency department visits involving females increased 9 percent (from 258,079 to 281,994) between 1999 and 2000.

9.    Males:   Total drug-related emergency department visits involving were statistically unchanged for males. 

10.  Racial/Ethnic Subgroups:  From 1999 to 2000 visits involving Hispanic patients increased 20 percent (from 56,891 to 68,282). There were no significant changes for visits involving other racial/ethnic subgroups.

DAWN 2000 Report

Go To The Full Report On SAMSHA Website
Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Year End 2000 Report

July 25, 2001
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE
Contact: Josie Graziadio Phone: (301) 443-8956

New Trends Released for 
Drug Related Emergency Department Visits

20 Percent Increase Found for Youth age 12 to 17

Emergency department visits involving the club drug MDMA (Ecstasy) increased 58 percent, from 2,850 visits in 1999 to 4,511 in 2000 in the continental United States. The number of heroin/morphine related visits increased 15 percent, from 84,409 to 97,287. These and other significant trends in drug related emergency department visits are reported for the first time today with the release of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) 2000 Emergency Department Data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN).

Among 21 metropolitan areas covered by DAWN, 7 had increases in drug related emergency department visits from 1999 to 2000: 32 percent in Seattle (from 8,426 to 11,116), 28 percent in Boston (from 11,699 to 14,902), 22 percent in Los Angeles (from 20,678 to 25,288), 20 percent in Miami (from 7,128 to 8,560), 16 percent in Chicago (from 26,158 to 30,330), 12 percent in Minneapolis (from 4,643 to 5,198), and 9 percent in Phoenix (from 8,293 to 9,072).

Drug related emergency department visits decreased 19 percent in Baltimore (from 14,172 to 11,505) and 12 percent in San Francisco (from 8,930 to 7,857). No overall changes were reported in Atlanta (11,114 visits), Buffalo (2,899), Dallas (6,798), Denver (4,946), Detroit (17,042), New Orleans (4,664), New York (31,885), Newark (7,749), Philadelphia (23,433), St. Louis (6,908), San Diego (7,094), and Washington, DC (10,303).

"This report shows again that we face serious gaps in preventing and treating substance abuse, especially with club drugs," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. "Our first line of defense against substance abuse must be prevention. We need to reach out to people before they become statistics in emergency departments - or worse, in the morgue. This is why it's so important for Congress to move quickly to approve the Administration's drug prevention and treatment budget."

"We use DAWN to help pinpoint regional drug epidemics in the making and prepare communities to address the problems," said Joseph H. Autry III, M.D. acting SAMHSA Administrator. "SAMHSA's Targeted Capacity Expansion grants are available to help mayors, town and county officials put into place effective treatment services for emerging drug epidemics or related public health problems, including HIV/AIDS, at the earliest possible stages. These grants have been used by communities to respond to the outbreak of methamphetamine use in the Southwest and the dramatic heroin increases reported in localized areas in the Northeast."

Illicit Drugs

In 2000, the estimated number of emergency department visits related to marijuana/hashish use, 16 percent (96,446), continued to be about the same as the number of visits related to heroin/morphine (97,287). Cocaine-related visits constituted 29 percent (174,896) of all drug related visits in 2000, more than any other illicit substance measured by DAWN. The number of marijuana/hashish and cocaine related visits were statistically unchanged from 1999 to 2000.

Cocaine

From 1999 to 2000, cocaine mentions increased significantly in 6 of the 21 metropolitan areas in DAWN: 35 percent in Los Angeles (from 6,772 to 9,111), 32 percent in Seattle (from 2,520 to 3,338), 19 percent in Atlanta (from 5,236 to 6,229), 15 percent in Boston (from 3,560 to 4,101), 11 percent in Chicago (from 13,399 to 14,871), and 9 percent in Miami (from 4,018 to 4,318). Decreases in cocaine mentions were observed in 4 of the 21 metropolitan areas: 29 percent in Baltimore (from 6,921 to 4,943), 13 percent in Newark (from 3,124 to 2,726), 10 percent in Washington DC (from 3,150 to 2,830), and 7 percent in New Orleans (from 2,140 to 1,998).

Heroin/morphine

Eight of the 21 metropolitan areas had increases in heroin/morphine mentions between 1999 and 2000. They were: 58 percent in Miami (from 921 to 1,459), 50 percent in New Orleans (from 664 to 996), 35 percent in Boston (from 2,874 to 3,888), 31 percent in Buffalo (from 525 to 687), 29 percent in Chicago (from 9,725 to 12,564), 26 percent in Detroit (from 2,678 to 3,369), 17 percent in Atlanta (from 432 to 507), and 14 percent in Minneapolis (from 207 to 237). Heroin/morphine mentions decreased 23 percent in Baltimore (from 7,013 to 5,414) and 10 percent in San Francisco (from 3,074 to 2,773).

Marijuana/hashish

Seven of the 21 metropolitan areas experienced significant increases in marijuana/hashish mentions between 1999 and 2000: 75 percent in Seattle (from 808 to 1,414), 50 percent in Boston (from 1,961 to 2,945), 38 percent in Miami (from 1,285 to 1,770), 33 percent in San Francisco (from 470 to 627), 28 percent in Minneapolis (from 627 to 803), 20 percent in Denver (from 681 to 818), and 18 percent in Chicago (from 4,561 to 5,401).

Methamphetamine/speed

Overall, methamphetamine/speed was mentioned in 2 percent of drug related emergency department visits in 2000. From 1999 to 2000, methamphetamine/speed mentions increased 29 percent, from 10,447 to 13,513. Looking across the 10 metropolitan areas with at least 100 mentions of methamphetamine/speed in 1999 or 2000, significant increases from 1999 to 2000 were evident in 6: 76 percent in Phoenix (from 341 to 600), 53 percent in Seattle (from 353 to 540), 51 percent in Los Angeles (from 910 to 1,375), 35 percent in Dallas (from 100 to 135), 31 percent in Atlanta (from 83 to 109), and 28 percent in San Diego (from 584 to 747). Methamphetamine/speed estimates were stable in San Francisco (591 mentions in 2000), St. Louis (162), Minneapolis (153), and Denver (110).

Club Drugs

Mentions of club drugs, so called because of their association with "raves" and dance clubs, have increased dramatically since 1994. Significant increases in club drug related emergency department visits are reported between 1994 and 2000 for GHB (from 56 to 4,969), MDMA (from 253 to 4,511), and Ketamine (from 19 to 263). The apparent increase in Rohypnol mentions (from 13 to 469) during this time is within the margin of error and not statistically significant.

Club drugs tend to be used by young people. About 31 percent of DAWN emergency department cases overall involve patients age 25 and under, at least 80 percent of Rohypnol and MDMA mentions, over 70 percent of Ketamine mentions, and 60 percent of GHB mentions are attributed to patients age 25 and younger. More than half of the mentions of GHB, Ketamine, MDMA, and Rohypnol in emergency department visits were associated with recreational drug use and more than half were associated with visits for unexpected reactions or overdose.

Unlike methamphetamine/speed which is concentrated in western metropolitan areas, other club drugs are somewhat more geographically dispersed. In 2000 the highest rates of emergency department visits of GHB per 100,000 population appear in San Francisco (9 per 100,000 population), Dallas (7), and New Orleans (6). Rates of MDMA mentions appear highest in San Francisco (7), Seattle (7), and Miami (5). The highest rates of LSD mentions appear in Phoenix (7) and Seattle (5).

Prescription Drugs

From 1999 to 2000 emergency department mentions of prescription drugs containing oxycodone increased 68 percent (from 6,429 to 10,825), and mentions of drugs containing hydrocodone increased 31 percent (from 14,639 to 19,221). Mentions of oxycodone and hydrocodone increased 108 percent and 53 percent respectively, in the 2 year period from 1998 to 2000. DAWN estimates for these narcotic analgesics (pain killers) should not be attributed to drugs marketed under particular trade or brand names. For example, the DAWN estimates for oxycodone cannot be attributed to OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, or any other particular brand of analgesic containing oxycodone.

Total Drug-Related Visits

DAWN is a nationally representative survey of hospitals with emergency departments conducted annually by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In 2000, 466 hospitals participated in DAWN. The survey is designed to capture information about emergency department visits that are induced by or related to the use of an illegal drug or the nonmedical use of a legal drug. Because up to 4 drugs can be reported for each emergency department visit, there are more "mentions" than "visits".

In 2000, there were an estimated 601,776 drug-related emergency department visits in the continental United States with 1,100,539 mentions of a particular drug (on average, 1.8 drugs per visit). There was no statistically significant change between 1999 and 2000 in the number of emergency department visits or the number of drugs mentioned.

Among drug-related emergency department visits in 2000, dependence (217,224, or 36 percent of visits) and suicide (193,061, or 32 percent) were the most frequently cited motives for taking the substances. Overdose (264,240 or 44 percent of visits) was the most common reason given for contacting the emergency department. Between 1999 and 2000, emergency department visits involving patients seeking detoxification increased 24 percent (from 72,960 to 90,625) and visits involving overdose increased 14 percent (from 232,283 to 264,240).

From 1999 to 2000, total drug related emergency department visits increased 20 percent for patients age 12 to 17 (from 52,783 to 63,448) and 13 percent for patients age 18 to 25 (from 109,580 to 123,438), but remained stable for older age groups. Total drug-related emergency department visits involving females increased 9 percent (from 258,079 to 281,994) between 1999 and 2000, but were statistically unchanged for males. From 1999 to 2000 visits involving Hispanic patients increased 20 percent (from 56,891 to 68,282). There were no significant changes for visits involving other racial/ethnic subgroups.

The DAWN report is available on the SAMHSA website at www.samhsa.gov. Click on Highlights. Or, by calling SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Drug and Alcohol Information at 1-800-729-6686.

SAMHSA, a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead federal agency for improving the quality and availability of substance abuse prevention, addiction treatment and mental health services in the United States. Information on SAMHSA's programs is available on the Internet at www.samhsa.gov . News media requests should be directed to Media Services at (800) 487-4890.

Sign up for SAMHSA's mailing list for the DAWN and other reports at www.samhsa.gov 

 

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