Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers develop new ways to predict number of drug users

15.11.2004


A team of researchers have developed a new method of predicting the number of drug users in the population by looking at the number of recorded overdose deaths among drug users.



In research published today in the American Journal of Epidemiology a team of researchers from Imperial College London, the Health Protection Agency, Medical Research Council and GlaxoSmithKline analysed the numbers of opiate and injecting drug users who had overdoses, to see if it was possible to model long term trends for the number of opiate or injecting drug users. They also found the number of overdoses among opiate and injecting drug users has risen nearly 100 fold in thirty years from around 9 in 1968 to more than 900 by 2000.

Dr Matthew Hickman, from Imperial College London, based at Charing Cross Hospital, and one of the authors of the research, comments: “These results could help provide better data on the true number of drug users in the population and help provide the government with a far better surveillance tool than they currently have. Often the true level of drug use is hidden within populations, but this method could be used to provide a more accurate picture.”


The researchers analysed data for England and Wales between 1968 and 2000, looking at 7375 deaths in people aged 15-44, which had been coded as drug misuse or accidental opiate overdose, and used a back calculation method to estimate long term trends.

The results suggested that there have been two epidemic periods with the numbers of new opiate and injecting drug users having increased three-fold between 1975 and 1979 and up to five to six-fold between 1987 and 1995. Models looking at recent data suggest the numbers of new opiate users may have recently declined.

The results also suggested the number of current opiate and injecting drug users has continued to rise since the early 1970s, doubling between 1977 and 1982, and possibly rising four-fold from 1987 to 1996 though slowing from 1997.

Dr Daniela de Angelis, from the Health Protection Agency and the MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge, and one of the authors of the research adds: “Although these figures are alarming, they do need to be treated with caution. They were calculated using a method which ideally requires better information on opiate users’ death rates and how long they inject for, but the figures do serve to highlight some important issues.”

Dr Hickman adds: “These figures point to an alarming rise in the numbers of deaths from drug overdoses, something the government urgently needs to take action on. Rather than just spending money on treating existing drug addicts, there is a need for better health education to stop people becoming addicted in the first place.”

The research was funded by the Research and Development Department of Health, with the Office of National Statistics providing the data on deaths over time.

Tony Stephenson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht GLUT5 fluorescent probe fingerprints cancer cells
20.04.2018 | Michigan Technological University

nachricht Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment
20.04.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>