Home > Alcohol and drug use amongst young attenders to A + E.

Eager, Robert and Barton, D (2003) Alcohol and drug use amongst young attenders to A + E. Irish Medical Journal, 96, (10), pp. 311-312.

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Letter to the editor
The authors carried out a three-month prospective study of all patients up to the age of thirty years who attended the emergency department. A standard questionnaire was completed on young patients presenting with alcohol or drug use, both recreational and deliberate self-harm (DSH). All appropriate attendances were identified by extraction of patient lists for the study period from the hospital information system. Cases in which substance use was thought to be a contributing (rather than a causative) factor, for example assaults, were excluded.

According to the authors, the study shows that alcohol and drug use are common causes of attendance to this emergency department. It represents a potential cause of significant morbidity to the young in our catchment population. In most cases, management of these patients was uncomplicated. An observation unit adjacent to the emergency department would benefit patient and staff alike. While an opportunity exists in the emergency department for preventative medicine, this requires resources and access to support services to be effective.

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