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Study shows high rates, rising costs of alcohol/drug disorders in hospitalized patients
Date:6/25/2008

Philadelphia, PA, June 25, 2007 Fourteen percent of patients admitted to the hospital have alcohol/drug abuse and addiction (ADAA) disorders, costs for which have risen sharply in recent years, according to a study in the June issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment (JSAT).

"Our results demonstrated the high prevalence of hospital admissions with co-occurring ADAA and the striking financial costs placed on the hospital, government programs, and insurers," write Patricia B. Santora, Ph.D., and Heidi E. Hutton, Ph.D., of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.

The researchers analyzed 43,000 patients with ADAA disordersmainly in addition to other medical diagnoseswho were admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1994 to 2002. Patients with ADAA accounted for 13.7 percent of all hospital admissions during that time. About one-half of the patients used a combination of two or more drugs, one-fourth used alcohol only, and the rest used opioids (like heroin) or cocaine only. The number of opioid abusers rose sharply during the period studied, reflecting the recent resurgence of heroin in Baltimore. Patient characteristics differed by insurance status. In particular, patients on Medicaid/Medicare and uninsured patients were more likely to have drug addictions, while patients with private insurance were more likely to abuse alcohol only.

Adjusted for inflation, overall hospital costs for patients with ADAA disorders increased by 134 percent from 1994 to 2002. Medicaid/Medicare patients accounted for 70 percent of patients and 70 percent of the costs. Although costs increased for all types of ADAA disorders, the greatest increase was seen for opioid abuse482 percent from 1994 to 2002. However, patients with alcohol abuse/addiction accounted for the highest proportion of costs.

Only about one percent of patients had an ADAA disorder as their only diagnosisthe remaining 99 percent had ot
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Contact: Jayne M. Dawkins
ja.dawkins@elsevier.com
215-239-3674
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

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