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Study: Men More Likely to be referred to Detox after ER Visits than Women

A study conducted by researchers at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University found that “men were 2.69 times more likely to visit an ER for illicit drug use than women, and 1.90 times more likely to receive a detox referral” (Gaita, 2017). 


The researchers examined data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) program between 2004 and 2011, and the over “2.79 million drug-related visits to the ER” by adults age eighteen and over (Gaita, 2017). Aside from their aforementioned findings, researchers also found that men were more likely to “seek detox” at emergency rooms. 


Reasons for these rates vary, but researchers are concerned with the roadblocks facing both men and women in receiving addiction treatment. Their study concluded that “the number of both men and women with drug use problems who received detox referrals was low—5.9 percent to 3.2 percent, respectively—which is consistent with previous research that found that 27 percent of ER patients had substance abuse treatment needs that went unmet” (Gaita, 2017). 


Researchers suggested that ER staff and doctors should pay close attention to women with substance abuse issues and work towards higher admissions into treatment. 




Gaita, P. (2017). Women less likely to be referred to detox after ER visits. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/women-less-likely-be-referred-detox-after-er-visits