Club Drug Emergency Department Visits Decline

August 10, 2004

On August 2, 2004, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that hospital emergency department visits related to "club drugs" declined or remained stable in 2002 (the latest year that data were available). In this analysis, DAWN examined how many emergency department visits in the US were associated with the use of MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, LSD and Ketamine.

Emergency Department (ED) Visits
Associated with Club Drugs

These four drugs were accounted for 8,127 emergency department visits in 2002. MDMA caused most of the emergency department visits, followed by GHB, LSD and Ketamine (see graph). In most of these visits, at least one other drug (another club drug, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine or heroin) was taken by the patient. Most of the patients (56% for GHB; 68% for Ketamine; 75% for MDMA; 76% for LSD) who visited emergency departments were younger than 26 years old.

The data show a decreasing pattern of emergency department visits for these club drugs. For example, the number of MDMA-related emergency department visits went from 5,542 in 2001 to 4,026 in 2002; LSD-related visits went from 2,821 in 2001 to 881 in 2002.

The reason for the decrease in club drug-related emergency departments visits is not known. The decrease may or may not be related to decreased drug use. DAWN examined only the number of emergency department visits, not drug use. It may be that recent drug use is the same or more than past use, but that the strength of club drugs is lowered. This may have caused fewer people to go to the hospital. Changes in the way people are covered by health insurance may also have influenced whether people went to the hospital for help.

Reference and further information:

  1. Roberts, D.L. and Ball, J., The DAWN Report, Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), July 2004
  2. Club Drugs - from the National Institute on Drug Abuse

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