Latest statistics show 305 admissions were diagnosed as drugs misuse in the year 2011/12 — compared to 97 in 2007/08.
Across NHS Tayside as a whole the number has more than doubled, with an increase from 244 five years ago to 512 last year. Doctors have warned there is now a “constant background level of recreational drug use” in the region’s Accident and Emergency departments.
A&E consultant Dr Julie Ronald said people come in with drugs-related problems most weekends. She said: “We deal with a lot of drugs-related admissions. It can be very time consuming — especially if patients cause disruption to the rest of the department.
“It’s something we see most weekends of some variety. The vast majority are brought in by ambulance. Usually someone has been with the patient or found them and decided they require medical attention.”
Across Tayside, opioids — such as heroin — were the cause for more than 80% of admissions over the period. Of these, 60 were categorised as resulting from multiple drugs or other less common drugs.
And 468 — more than 90% — were classed as emergency admissions. Also last year, 28 of the admissions were for cannabis-type drugs, nine were for cocaine, eight for sedatives or hypnotics and seven were for other sedatives.
Dr Ronald, who works in the A&E departments at Ninewells Hospital and Perth Royal Infirmary, said there has been a noticeable increase in younger patients for drugs misuse .She said: “There is a constant background level of recreational drug use. We’re always coming into contact with it. We do see heroin misuse. What we have certainly seen is more recreational legal high-type drugs. A lot of teens and people in the younger age groups are coming in who have taken party drugs, such as bubbles or MCAT.”
Some 89 of the admissions for 2011/12 had to stay in hospital for a week or longer. Dr Ronald said: “A&E look after the vast majority of people coming in with recreational drug misuse. We tend to keep them in for a few hours for observation, or overnight if they need to be monitored for longer.”
Source: www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk 15th June 2013