It’s not surprising that the need for substance abuse services varies by city and region. But a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows just how widespread these differences are.
SAMHSA’s Drug Abuse Warning Network took a look at hospital emergency room visits for illegal drug use in 11 metropolitan areas around the country. They covered Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Miami/ Fort Lauderdale, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle.
The rate of emergency room use is an indication of how often signs of drug abuse are missed by health care professionals, as well as friends and family members, the federal agency says.
“When friends, family members and health professionals miss the signs and symptoms of substance abuse the results can be devastating,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “One consequence is the costly and inefficient use of emergency rooms as a first step to treatment. Substance abuse prevention and early intervention can keep people off drugs in the first place and clear the path to healthier lifestyles.”
Boston is the city with the highest rate of illegal drug-related ER visits, with 571 per 100,000 population. It’s followed by New York City (555); Chicago (507) and Detroit (462).
The national rate is 69 per 100,000. The survey was based on statistics from 2009, during which there were 973,591 visits to emergency rooms throughout the country.
For the complete report, click here.
Congress approved a last-minute bill to temporarily avert a scheduled Medicare reimbursement cut on Friday, Dec. 23. President Obama was expected to sign the legislation, which gives lawmakers two more months to deliver a long-term solution during a contentious election year.
The 27.5% reduction would go into effect March 1 if no agreement is hammered out. Click here for links to stories in the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
The bill has no effect on a scheduled 2% reimbursement cut slated for 2013 due to the failure of the Super Committee to come up with an alternative budget slashing plan.
- John Nelander, Contributing Editor