Alcohol Abuse and Illegal Drug Use Among Los Angeles County Trauma Patients: Prevalence and Evaluation of Single Item Screener

RAND, Los Angeles, California, USA.
The Journal of trauma (Impact Factor: 2.96). 06/2009; 66(5):1461-7. DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e318184821d
Source: PubMed


The misuse of alcohol and illicit drugs is implicated with injury and repeat injury. Admission to a trauma center provides an opportunity to identify patients with substance use problems and initiate intervention and prevention strategies. To facilitate the identification of trauma patients with substance use problems, we studied alcohol abuse and illegal substance use patterns in a large cohort of urban trauma patients, identified correlates of alcohol abuse, and assessed the utility of a single item binge-drinking screener for identifying patients with past 12-month substance use problems.
Between February 2004 and August 2006, 677 patients from four large trauma centers in Los Angeles County were interviewed. The sample was broadly representative of the entire Los Angeles County trauma center patient population.
Twenty-four percent of patients met criteria for alcohol abuse and 15% reported using an illegal drug other than marijuana in the past 12 months. Male gender, assaultive injury, peritrauma substance use, and history of binge drinking were prominent risk factors. A single item binge drinking screen correctly identified alcohol abuse status in 76% of all patients; the screen also performed moderately well in discriminating between those who had or had not used illegal drugs in the past 12 months, with sensitivity estimates reaching 0.79 and specificity estimates reaching 0.74.
A large proportion of urban trauma patients abuse alcohol and use illegal drugs. Distinct sociodemographic and substance use history may indicate underlying risky behaviors. Interventions and injury prevention programs need to address these causal behaviors to reduce injury morbidity and recidivism. In the busy trauma care setting, a one-item screener could be helpful in identifying patients who would benefit from more thorough assessment and possible brief intervention.

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    • "Furthermore, 37% reported past 12-month marijuana use and 15% reported use of drugs other than marijuana. After marijuana, cocaine was the most commonly used illegal drug (13). In this study we combined two methods for detection of drug abuse, the first was history of drug abuse in the patients and the second was the urine test. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Motor vehicle collisions (MVC) comprise a majority cause of referral to the emergency department (ED). A large proportion of MVC appear to be preventable, if more effective measures against driving after substance abuse can be implemented. Objective: This study was aimed to investigate the prevalence of substance abuse among drivers of MVC, following road traffic accidents (RTA). Materials and Methods: This case-control research was conducted from July to October 2007. One hundred MVC drivers admitted in the ED were included as the case group and 110 hospitalized patients, due to nontraumatic causes were used as controls. History of substances abused was obtained and urine samples were tested for opium in both groups. Finally the history and laboratory results of the groups were compared using SPSS 18. Results: Of the 100 patients in the case group, 39 (39%) were positive for substance abuse (100% males). On the other hand, 49 (44.5%) patients in the control group had positive history or laboratory findings of substance abuse (73.9% male). Opioids were the most common agent abused in both groups. There was no significant difference between two groups regarding the prevalence of substance abuse (P = 0.92). Conclusions: The prevalence of substance abuse is high among victims of road traffic injury but in equal proportion to the control group. Health education and counseling is needed to reduce substance abuse in the general population although it was not significantly related to the cause of RTA.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012
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    • "The sensitivities and specifi cities found for the subsample of individuals with past-year ED utilization in this study exceeded those reported in a recent study of the 5+/4+ drinks screener in a sample of trauma center patients (Ramchand et al., 2009). The weaker performance in that study may refl ect the use of a past-30-day reference period for frequency of drinking 5+/4+ drinks, which implies a screening cutpoint of once a month or more—more frequent than the optimal cutpoints for drugs other than cocaine in the current study. "
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to test the ability of a question on frequency of drinking 5+ (for men) or 4+ (for women) drinks to screen for drug use and drug-use disorders (DUDs) in a general population sample. Using data collected in 2001-2002 from a representative U.S. adult population sample (N= 43,093), including a subsample of those with past-year emergency-department use (n = 8,525), past-year frequency of drinking 5+/4+ drinks was evaluated as a screener for drug use and DUDs for four categories of illicit drugs. Sensitivities and specificities of the 5+/4+ drinks screener were 72.4% and 76.6% for any drug dependence, 71.9% and 77.3% for any DUD, and 63.3% and 78.9% for any drug use in the general population. Sensitivities and specificities were higher for marijuana and cocaine/crack and lowest for illicit prescription drugs. Optimal screening cut-points were once a month or more for cocaine/crack dependence, either once or more a month or seven or more times a year for cocaine/crack DUDs, seven or more times a year for cocaine/crack use, and once or more a year for the other drug use and DUD measures. Sensitivity and specificity were similar among adults who had visited an emergency department in the past year, and the optimal screening cutpoints were identical. Past-year frequency of drinking 5+/4+ drinks was quite accurate as a screener for past-year marijuana and cocaine/crack use and DUDs, but it was less accurate for illicit prescription drug use and DUDs. Its drug-screening potential can be thought of as "added value" from an item already likely to be asked in the interest of detecting problem drinking. Future work may consider using the alcohol consumption screener as a starting point, with follow-up questions to assess illicit drug use among those who screen positive.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2010 · Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs
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    • "The overall analytic sample from which the sample of interest was drawn did not differ significantly from the LA County census of trauma center patients with respect to age, gender, ethnicity and mechanism of injury (i.e., assault versus motor vehicle collision/other accident). The overall sample had, however, sustained slightly more severe injuries than had the trauma center population (Ramchand et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: This longitudinal study of physical injury survivors examined the degree to which Hispanic and non-Hispanic Caucasians reported similar posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Adult physical trauma survivors (N = 677) provided information regarding posttraumatic distress by completing an interview-administered version of the PTSD Symptom Checklist (Civilian version) at 3 time points: within days of trauma exposure and again at 6 and 12 months posttrauma. Structural equation modeling with propensity weights was used in analyzing data. Results replicated prior research indicating that Hispanics report greater overall PTSD symptom severity. However, the size of this effect varied significantly across the 17 individual PTSD symptoms, and several symptoms were not reported more highly by Hispanics. Relative to non-Hispanic Caucasians, Hispanics tended to report higher levels of symptoms that could be regarded as exaggerated or intensified cognitive and sensory perceptions (e.g., hypervigilance, flashbacks). In contrast, few differences were observed for symptoms characteristic of impaired psychological functioning (e.g., difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbance). Findings suggest that the pattern of PTSD symptoms experienced most prominently by Hispanics differs in kind and not merely in degree. Results have implications for theory aimed at explaining this ethnic disparity in posttraumatic psychological distress as well as for clinical intervention with trauma-exposed Hispanics.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
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