Pattern and characteristics of ecstasy and related drug (ERD) presentations at two hospital emergency departments, Melbourne, Australia, 2008–2010

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Horyniak, Danielle, Degenhardt, Louisa, Smit, D. V, Munir, Venita, Johnston, Jennifer, Fry, Craig L and Dietze, Paul (2013) Pattern and characteristics of ecstasy and related drug (ERD) presentations at two hospital emergency departments, Melbourne, Australia, 2008–2010. Emergency Medicine Journal, 31. pp. 317-322. ISSN 1472-0205 (print) 1472-0213 (online)

Abstract

Objective To describe patterns and characteristics of emergency department (ED) presentations related to the use of ecstasy and related drugs (ERDs) in Melbourne, Australia. Methods Retrospective audit of ERD-related presentations from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2010 at two tertiary hospital EDs. Variation in presentations across years was tested using a two-tailed test for proportions. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to compare sociodemographic and clinical characteristics across groups. Results Most of the 1347 presentations occurred on weekends, 24:00–06:00. Most patients arrived by ambulance (69%) from public places (42%), private residences (26%) and licensed venues (21%). Ecstasy-related presentations decreased from 26% of presentations in 2008 to 14% in 2009 (p<0.05); γ-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) presentations were most common overall. GHB presentations were commonly related to altered conscious state (89%); other presentations were due to psychological concerns or nausea/vomiting. Compared with GHB presentations, patients in ecstasy-related presentations were significantly less likely to require intubation (OR 0.04, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.18), but more likely to result in hospital admission (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.08 to 2.91). Patients in amphetamine-related cases were older than those in GHB-related cases (median 28.4 years vs 23.9 years; p<0.05), and more likely to have a history of substance use (OR 4.85, 95% CI 3.50 to 6.74) or psychiatric illness (OR 6.64, 95% CI 4.47 to 9.87). Overall, the median length of stay was 3.0 h (IQR 1.8–4.8), with most (81%) patients discharged directly home. Conclusions Although the majority of ERD-related presentations were effectively treated, with discharge within a short time frame, the number and timing of presentations places a significant burden on EDs. ERD harm reduction and improved management of minor harms at licensed venues could reduce this burden.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/23685
DOI https://doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2012-202174
Official URL http://emj.bmj.com/content/31/4/317
Funders http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/452803
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing
Keywords ResPubID26697, drug abuse, emergency department, epidemiology
Citations in Scopus 23 - View on Scopus
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