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APRIL 2004

Highlights From DAWN: New Orleans, 2002


This special report presents findings based on data Top 5 drugs in drug abuse-related
submitted by 12 hospitals in the New Orleans ED visits in New Orleans, 2002
metropolitan area for 2002.
2,000
■ Of the approximately 650,000 visits to New
Orleans area emergency departments (EDs) in 1,674
2002, less than 1 percent (4,566) were attributed
to drug abuse. 1,500 1,430
■ During 2002, the most common drugs involved

Number of visits
in these ED visits were cocaine, alcohol in 1,133
combination with other drugs, narcotic analgesics
(pain relievers), benzodiazepines, and marijuana. 1,000 947
832
■ Between 1995 and 2002, ED mentions of pain
relievers in New Orleans increased 141 percent
(from 41 to 98 mentions per 100,000 population). 500
■ Among the 21 DAWN areas, New Orleans ranked
in the top 5 in drug abuse-related ED visits
involving pain relievers and benzodiazepines.
0
Cocaine Alcohol-in- Narcotic Benzo- Marijuana
combination analgesics diazepines
(pain relievers)

DAWN: The Warning Network


Local information is essential to
Seattle
support local action, and drugs, drug
use, and drug-related morbidity can Detroit
Minneapolis
differ dramatically across communities. Buffalo
DAWN focuses on metropolitan areas Boston
Chicago
to reveal emerging drug problems Denver Baltimore New York
San Francisco St. Louis Washington
before they become widespread. Newark
DAWN detects new drugs, new drug Philadelphia

combinations, new health consequences Los Angeles


Phoenix Atlanta
of drug use, and changing patterns involving Dallas
old drugs. Facilities participating in DAWN San
Diego
can use this information to train staff and
New
improve patient care. Communities can use this Orleans
information to plan, target resources, and act more effectively. Miami

Today, hospitals in New Orleans and 20 other metropolitan areas serve their
communities by participating in DAWN. Expansion to other areas is underway.
DAWN serves a diverse audience. In addition to participating facilities, users include researchers and policy analysts; pharmaceutical firms;
State and local substance abuse agencies; community coalitions; and Federal agencies, including the White House Office of National Drug
Control Policy, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For more information, go to
http://DAWNinfo.samhsa.gov/.
2 H I G H L I G H T S F R O M DA W N : NEW ORLEANS 2002

Trends in Top 4 Drugs, 1995-2002

Cocaine

■ From 2000 to 2002, the rate of cocaine-related ED 300

visits in New Orleans declined 11 percent (from


162 to 145 visits per 100,000 population).

Rate per 100,000


200

population
■ Almost two-thirds (64%) of cocaine-related ED New Orleans
visits in New Orleans also involved other drugs.
■ Almost one-fifth (18%) of the cocaine-related 100

ED visits in New Orleans in 2002 were attributed U.S.


to “crack.”
0
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002

Pain Relievers
150
■ From 1995 to 2002, drug abuse-related ED visits
involving pain relievers rose 141 percent in New
Orleans (from 41 to 98 visits per 100,000 Rate per 100,000 New Orleans
100
population). The national rate had a similar
population

percentage increase (from 19 to 46 visits per


100,000 population). However, the national rate 50
remained about half of the rate in New Orleans. U.S.
■ Hydrocodone and oxycodone were the most
frequently named pain relievers in New Orleans 0
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
ED visits in 2002.

Benzodiazepines
150
■ From 1995 to 2002, benzodiazepines implicated
in drug abuse-related ED visits in New Orleans
remained relatively stable. Nationally, the rate
Rate per 100,000

100
increased 25 percent during this time (from 33 New Orleans
population

to 41 visits). However, in 2002, the rate in New


Orleans was about twice the national rate. 50
■ Diazepam was the most frequently named U.S.
benzodiazepine in drug abuse-related ED visits
in New Orleans in 2002. 0
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002

Marijuana

■ Between 1995 and 2002, the rate of marijuana- 150

related ED visits in New Orleans remained stable.


The national rate more than doubled during this
Rate per 100,000

100
time (from 19 to 47 visits per 100,000 population).
population

New Orleans
■ Three-quarters (75%) of marijuana-related ED
visits in New Orleans involved other drugs. 50
U.S.

0
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
H I G H L I G H T S F R O M DA W N : NEW ORLEANS 2002 3

Comparisons
??? Across 21 Metropolitan Areas
The following figures show New Orleans in relation to the Nation and 20 other metropolitan areas represented in
DAWN for selected drugs in 2002. Comparisons across areas are possible because the number of visits for each drug
is represented in terms of a rate per 100,000 population. Not all differences in rates are statistically significant.

Cocaine visits Pain Reliever visits


Rate per 100,000 population, 2002 Rate per 100,000 population, 2002

Total U.S. 78 Total U.S. 46


Chicago 275 Baltimore 165
Philadelphia 274 Buffalo 106
Baltimore 257 New Orleans 98
Miami 240 Detroit 97
Atlanta 239 Boston 97
Newark 186 Seattle 95
Detroit 182 Philadelphia 81
Buffalo 171 St. Louis 68
New York 166 Newark 64
Seattle 164 Phoenix 62
Boston 156 Chicago 61
St. Louis 153 New York 55
San Francisco 150 San Francisco 52
New Orleans 145 San Diego 46
Los Angeles 108 Minneapolis 40
Denver 82 Denver 34
Washington, DC 71 Atlanta 30
Phoenix 59 Los Angeles 28
Minneapolis 55 Dallas 28
Dallas 46 Washington, DC 26
San Diego 32 Miami 22
0 300 0 225

Benzodiazepines visits Marijuana visits


Rate per 100,000 population, 2002 Rate per 100,000 population, 2002

Total U.S. 41 Total U.S. 47


Boston 102 Philadelphia 150
Philadelphia 95 Detroit 146
New Orleans 82 St. Louis 124
St. Louis 78 Boston 119
Detroit 69 Miami 111
Baltimore 60 Atlanta 96
Newark 57 Baltimore 88
Phoenix 53 Chicago 78
Seattle 50 New Orleans 72
Miami 49 Seattle 65
Chicago 47 Los Angeles 64
San Diego 45 Buffalo 56
San Francisco 42 Washington, DC 55
Buffalo 35 Newark 54
Atlanta 34 New York 47
Dallas 30 Minneapolis 47
Los Angeles 28 San Diego 46
Minneapolis 26 Phoenix 46
Denver 26 San Francisco 39
New York 22 Denver 38
Washington, DC 21 Dallas 27
0 130 0 160
4 H I G H L I G H T S F R O M DA W N : NEW ORLEANS 2002

About
??? DAWN
The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) is a national surveillance system that monitors drug-related
morbidity and mortality. Section 505 of the Public Health Service Act assigns this responsibility to the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. The Act requires SAMHSA to report annually on drug-related visits to hospital emergency
departments and on drug-related deaths reviewed by medical examiners and coroners. SAMHSA has a contract
with Westat, a private research firm based in Rockville, MD, to operate the DAWN system.

DAWN collects data from a scientific sample of hospital emergency departments and a set of medical examiners
and coroners from across the U.S., with concentrations in selected metropolitan areas. Each participating facility
has a DAWN Reporter who is specially trained to identify DAWN cases by retrospectively reviewing emergency
department medical records or death investigation case files. No patient, family member, or physician is ever
interviewed. No direct identifiers for individual patients or decedents are collected.

Beginning in 2003, DAWN cases include any emergency department visit or death that was related to drug use.
Reportable cases include drug abuse, misuse, overmedication, accidental and malicious poisonings, and adverse
drug reactions. For each case, the DAWN Reporter submits a case report detailing the specific drugs involved,
and characteristics of the patient or decedent and event (visit or death). Patient and decedent characteristics
include demographics (age, gender, race/ethnicity) and ZIP code. Other data items include date/time, chief
complaint, diagnoses, and disposition for each emergency department visit; and date, cause, manner, and place
of death for each decedent.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES