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 Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

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: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>