Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Med J Aust. 2007 Nov 19;187(10):564-6.

Comparison of crystalline methamphetamine ("ice") users and other patients with toxicology-related problems presenting to a hospital emergency department.

Author information

  • 1St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare demographic and clinical characteristics of methamphetamine users and patients with other toxicology-related problems requiring medical intervention in a hospital emergency department (ED).

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Prospective observational study of toxicology-related presentations to the ED of St Vincent's Hospital (SVH), Sydney, an inner-city tertiary hospital, between 1 October and 31 December 2006.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Differences between methamphetamine-related and other toxicology-related presentations to the ED in relation to behaviour, mode of arrival, accompaniment, need for scheduling, location of drug use, intravenous drug use history, psychiatric history and demographic characteristics.

RESULTS:

During the study period there were 10 305 patient presentations to SVH ED; 449 (4%) were toxicology-related presentations, of which 100 (1% of total) were methamphetamine-related. Methamphetamine users were significantly more agitated, violent and aggressive than patients with other toxicology-related presentations and significantly less alert, communicative and cooperative (P < 0.001); 24% of methamphetamine users (24/100) arrived with police accompaniment versus 9% of other toxicology patients (33/349) (P < 0.001). Methamphetamine users were more likely to have a history of intravenous drug use and mental health problems (P < 0.001); 39% of methamphetamine presentations (39/100) required scheduling under the Mental Health Act 1990 (NSW) compared with 19% of other toxicology-related presentations (67/349) (P < 0.001); 43% of methamphetamine-related presentations (43/100) involved drug use on the street compared with 24% of other toxicology-related presentations (83/349) (P < 0.001). Two-thirds of all methamphetamine users were male, and the most common age group for both male and female users was 26-30 years. The mean age and sex distribution of patients with other toxicology-related presentations were not significantly different. Among methamphetamine users, 27% of women (9/33) were in the 21-25-year age group compared with 10% (7/67) of men (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION:

There were significant differences between methamphetamine-related and other toxicology-related presentations to SVH ED. Methamphetamine users were more aggressive, violent and dangerous, and thus more likely to pose a risk to health personnel and others. Methamphetamine appeared to be used consistently, rather than as an episodic "party drug".

Comment in

PMID:
18021044
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Australasian Medical Publishing Company
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk