The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5144.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 2:30 PM

Abstract #35836

Changes in substance use associated with emergency room and primary care services utilization in the United States general population: 1995 - 2000

Cheryl J. Cherpitel, DrPH, Alcohol Research Group, 2000 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709, 510 642-0164,

The purpose of this study was to compare changes in the prevalence of heavy problem drinking and drug use among those using emergency room (ER), primary care and other health care services between 1995 and 2000 in the U.S. general population. Data analyzed are from the Alcohol Research Group's 1995 (n=4925) and 2000 (n=7612) National Alcohol Surveys. Data for the 1995 survey was based on face-to-face interviews in respondents' homes in the 48 contiguous states, while the 2000 interview was a random digit dialing computer assisted telephone interview of the household population in all 50 states. Controlling for demographic characteristics and health insurance coverage, illicit drug users were almost twice as likely (OR=1.85) compared to non-users, to report ER utilization, and one and a half times more likely (OR=1.55) to report primary care utilization during the past year in the 2000 survey, but drug use was not significantly predictive of health services utilization in 1995. These data suggest that while those alcohol-involved were no more likely than others to use ER and primary care services in either 1995 or 2000, those drug involved were more likely to do so in 2000, perhaps related to the fact that these individuals may be incurring more health problems associated with their drug use which require medical attention. Drug users may be over-represented in health service settings, which may provide a window of opportunity for screening and intervention for a reduction in drug-related problems.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Alcohol Use, Health Service

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Broad Patterns and Trends in Substance Use and Health Sevices Utilization

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA