Alcohol and illicit drug use have adverse health effects and also influence health as a result of intentional and unintentional accidents. International emergency room studies show that substance use and injuries are related. Despite this, emergency room studies on alcohol and illicit drug use in the Netherlands do not provide recent and complete data. Therefore, the focus of this thesis will be twofold. First, methodological aspects of assessing substance use among emergency room populations are studied. Second, this study provides recent data on substance use prevalence rates and patient characteristics among emergency room populations in the Netherlands. Data were collected in four different emergency rooms in different regions in the Netherlands; including two university hospitals and two general hospitals. This thesis concludes that the main methodological issues involved in emergency room studies are the characteristics of the alcohol and illicit drug! use measures, and sample selection bias. Alcohol and illicit drug use prevalence rates and patient characteristics in the present studies are comparable to international findings, with variations between the different regions in the Netherlands. Alcohol was reported by 10 to 18% of the patients and illicit drug use was admitted by 2 to 8% of the emergency room patients, with both groups more likely to be males, excessive drinkers and with combined use of substances. The results of our studies indicate that: interventions could be initiated at the emergency room, and should focus more on a patientâ?Ts alcohol use than on illicit drug use because alcohol use is easier to detect, less region specific, more prevalent, and for which more effective interventions are available.

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Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Garretsen, Prof. Dr. H.F.L. (promotor)
H.F.L. Garretsen (Henk)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Vitale, S. (2007, February 9). A Trip to the Emergency Room: Substance use among emergency room patients in the Netherlands; prevalence rates and methodological considerations. Retrieved from