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Drugs-Related Death Soon after Hospital-Discharge among Drug Treatment Clients in Scotland: Record Linkage, Validation, and Investigation of Risk-Factors

05 Nov 2015

by Simon R. White, Sheila M. Bird, Elizabeth L. C. Merrall, Sharon J. Hutchinson

We validate that the 28 days after hospital-discharge are high-risk for drugs-related death (DRD) among drug users in Scotland and investigate key risk-factors for DRDs soon after hospital-discharge. Using data from an anonymous linkage of hospitalisation and death records to the Scottish Drugs Misuse Database (SDMD), including over 98,000 individuals registered for drug treatment during 1 April 1996 to 31 March 2010 with 705,538 person-years, 173,107 hospital-stays, and 2,523 DRDs. Time-at-risk of DRD was categorised as: during hospitalization, within 28 days, 29–90 days, 91 days–1 year, >1 year since most recent hospital discharge versus ‘never admitted’. Factors of interest were: having ever injected, misuse of alcohol, length of hospital-stay (0–1 versus 2+ days), and main discharge-diagnosis. We confirm SDMD clients’ high DRD-rate soon after hospital-discharge in 2006–2010. DRD-rate in the 28 days after hospital-discharge did not vary by length of hospital-stay but was significantly higher for clients who had ever-injected versus otherwise. Three leading discharge-diagnoses accounted for only 150/290 DRDs in the 28 days after hospital-discharge, but ever-injectors for 222/290. Hospital-discharge remains a period of increased DRD-vulnerability in 2006–2010, as in 1996–2006, especially for those with a history of injecting.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in PLOS ONE