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 Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>