NHS drug misuse report shows increase in hospital admissions for drug related disorders

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The NHS Information Centre have published their annual statistical report presenting information on drug misuse among both adults and children, which this year has a focus on young adults.

The bulletin also summarises Government plans and targets in this area, as well as providing sources of further information and links to relevant documents.

The topics covered include:

  • Prevalence of drug misuse, including the types of drugs used
  • Trends in drug misuse over recent years
  • Patterns of drug misuse among different groups of the population
  • Health outcomes related to drug misuse including hospital admissions, drug treatment and number of deaths

Key facts

  1. In 2010/11, there were 6,640 admissions to hospital with a primary diagnosis of a drug-related mental health and behavioural disorder. This is 14.3 per cent more than in 2009/10 when there were 5,809 admissions but 17.3 per cent lower than in 2000/01 when there were 8,027 admissions. More than twice as many males were admitted than females in 2010/11 (4,813 and 1,827 respectively). *
  2. Where primary or secondary diagnosis was recorded there were 51,353 admissions in 2010/11 compared with 44,585 admissions in 2009/10, which shows an increase of 15.2 per cent. This is the biggest annual increase for this type of admission in the last ten years. Figures from this type of admission are now nearly twice as high as they were ten years ago at 25,683 admissions in 2000/2001. More than twice as many males were admitted than females in 2010/11 (34,508 and 16,839 respectively). *
  3. The total number of deaths related to drug misuse in England and Wales was 1,784 in 2010, of those 77 per cent were male.
  4. The most common underlying cause of death was from accidental poisoning for both males and females (694 out of 1,382 and 193 out of 402 respectively)

* The increase in 2011/12 may be a real change or in part may be due be to changes in recording practices (in this year or previous years). This may be particularly relevant for admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis where some of the increases may be attributable to changes in recording practice. Analysis has shown some of this increase was accounted for in the ‘other stimulants’ category and ‘multiple drug/psychoactive substance use’. Further years’ data may be required to aid interpretation of these statistics.

Statistics on Drug Misuse: England, 2011 (PDF). NHS Information Centre, 22 Nov 2011.

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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