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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2007 June;48(2):169-73


language: Italian

Substance use and emergency psychiatry: screening among emergency department patients

Maina G. 1, D’Ambrosio V. 1, Frieri T. 2, Villari V. 2, Bogetto F. 1

1 SCDU Psichiatria 1 Dipartimento di Neuroscienze Università degli Studi di Torino, Torino 2 SCDO Psichiatria 2 ASO San Giovanni Battista di Torino DSM Torino I Sud, Torino


Aim. The aim of this study is to evaluate the clinical importance of substance use by means of an observational investigation carried out with a toxicology screening on a limited number of patients with mental disorders presenting to the main emergency department of Turin.
Methods. The study group was randomly selected among patients aged 18-35 years who presented to the Emergency Department of the San Giovanni Hospital in Turin, and needing a psychiatric consultation, over a 18-month period. After informed consent, the patients’ urine was examined, via immunoassay, for the presence of metabolites of opioids, cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines and methadone.
Results. Of the 31 patients enrolled, 13 were male and 18 were female and the mean age was 27.4±3.8 years. Results of urine analysis were obtained from 23 patients (74.2%) because 5 patients refused the urine analysis and 3 reports were not available. A total of 26.6% showed positive results for at least one substance and 8.6% positive for at least two sustances, while 73.9% had negative results; 17.4% tested positive for cocaine, 13% for marijuana, 4.3% for opioids and methadone.
Conclusion. The results of this study show a notable frequency of substance use with a higher prevalence of cocaine use and a disposition to use more than one drug.

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