Objective: To monitor incidence rates of first-time hospital admission with an illicit drug problem in the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations of Western Australia in 1980-95.Method: Some 10,533 first admissions among 16,294 total admissions mentioning any of 19 groups of illicit drug problems were identified using linked hospital separation data from the WA Health Services Research Linked Database.Results: Trends in age-standardised rates showed two distinct features: a rapid acceleration in first-time admission rates commencing from about 1991; and a cross-over of the rates in Indigenous and non-indigenous people. In 1980, the rates were 9.2 per 100,000PY in Indigenous and 16.4 per 100,000PY in non-indigenous people. By 1995, the respective rates were 180.7 and 95.5 per 100,000PY. Largest proportional increases were observed in first-time admissions mentioning amphetamine dependence or abuse, although increases were seen also in problems due to opiates, hallucinogens, cocaine and cannabis.Conclusion: The results are consistent with data on the rising use of injectable amphetamines and other illicit drugs, especially among Aboriginal people.Implications: Urgent attention is required to identify ways of reducing health problems due to illicit substance use in both Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
|Journal||Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|