Drug and alcohol use among patients admitted to a Danish trauma centre: a prospective study from a regional trauma centre in Scandinavia

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Abstract

Objectives:

The incidence of drug and alcohol use is unknown among Danish trauma patients, and has not been thoroughly investigated in Europe.

Methods:

Patients admitted to the regional trauma centre in Aarhus, Denmark, were prospectively screened by blood and urine tests for the presence of alcohol, and legal and illicit drugs. The correlation with the Injury Severity Score, hospitalization time, and mortality after drug or alcohol intake was investigated.

Results:

A quarter of all patients admitted in 1999 and 2000 had an alcohol level exceeding the national legal driving limit of 50 mg/dl, and one or more drugs were found in one in five patients. The presence of any drug or alcohol correlated positively with the Injury Severity Score, whereas alcohol level, hospitalization time, and mortality did not correlate.

Conclusion:

The rate of trauma patients with a blood serum level of alcohol greater than 100 mg/dl was similar to a previous European study and to US studies. The prevalence of drugs was less, and benzodiazepines were the most used group of drugs in our study. The routine screening of Danish trauma patients in order to implement preventative measures may be beneficial.

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