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Psychiatr Serv. 2000 Jan;51(1):113-5.

Patterns of substance use among patients in an urban psychiatric emergency service.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


Data from patients visiting an urban psychiatric emergency service in California were examined to document incidence and patterns of substance use and ethnic differences among users. A total of 392 patients were randomly assigned to receive a drug screen (N = 198) or to receive usual care (N = 194). Forty-four percent of the mandatorily screened patients had positive screens for any substances: 37 percent were positive for any drugs, and 7 percent were positive for alcohol only. Cocaine was present in 62 percent of the drug-positive screens. Blacks were two and a half times more likely than whites to have positive screens for drugs and five times more likely to have positive screens for cocaine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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