Drug Policy Effects on Rates of Drug-Related Injuries

Drug and alcohol abuse increases risk of motor vehicle accidents, violence, injury, and death. Therefore, the impetus to enact drug and alcohol policy that ameliorates substance-related injury is strong. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), monitors drug-related emergency room (ER) visits nationwide. This is done by reviewing ER records from a sample of non-federal, general care, and short-stay hospitals with 24-hour ERs. DAWN estimates that just under 2 million (1,999,861) visits to the emergency room in 2009 were associated with drug misuse or abuse. It is estimated that 189,998 emergency room visits for underage patients were related to alcohol. While ER visits from 2004 to 2006 were stable for cases related to alcohol or ...

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