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A new study has examined the likelihood of injury among people who are addicted to alcohol or other drugs. Medical claims data from a longitudinal database of 1.5 million people were examined, and claims for anyone with a primary or secondary diagnosis related to alcohol or drugs in a three year period were analyzed. All substance abusers had an elevated risk of injury, with the largest risk (58%) among those who abuse both alcohol and other drugs. These people were twice as likely as controls to sustain at least one injury, and four times as likely to be hospitalized for an injury. The injury risks were also much higher for female than male abusers. The authors note that “the excess injury risk may be associated with drug-seeking, the effects of the drugs themselves, or other lifestyle factors, notably risk-taking and sensation-seeking”. They urge physicians to identify female abusers more aggressively, and to work towards earlier identification of substance abuse problems among younger people (
As the prospect for peace in the Middle East appears to decline, rates of intentional injury in the region may unfortunately only rise. Intentional injuries …