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.”
Tony Stephenson | alfa
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