There is no system for reporting drug and alcohol-related emergency department (ED) visits in Israel. This pilot survey was aimed at examining the feasibility of establishing an ED surveillance system in a general hospital and a psychiatric hospital. We describe the design and preliminary results of a pilot-survey conducted in the emergency departments of two hospitals in Northern Israel. Active and passive case identification was conducted in Rambam Hospital and Tirat Carmel Psychiatric Hospital, from August, 1999-January, 2000. A total of 160 ED patients were identified, 64% as drug-related, with heroin being the most common drug. The majority of cases were identified through self-reports. Overdose and IVDU complications accounted for 20% of drug cases identified at Rambam Hospital, and injury and motor vehicle accidents accounted for 12% of all visits at this hospital. We did not attempt to estimate the proportion of all ED visits that are associated with drugs and/or alcohol. Under-ascertainment of cases and incomplete data recording remain major concerns for a survey of this nature. Results of this pilot survey indicate that with proper training of ED nurses a national ED surveillance system can be successfully and efficiently established in general hospitals and psychiatric hospitals in Israel.
|Number of pages
|Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
|Published - 2002