Drug and alcohol psychiatric admissions up 29%

The number of admissions to psychiatric care for drug and alcohol problems has increased by 29 per cent over the last three years, according to UK research.

For the study, the researchers analysed data from the NHS Information Centre and the DoH on psychiatric admissions between 1996 and 2006.

Overall, they found that while total psychiatric admissions and NHS bed numbers fell during the decade, the number of patients sectioned increased by 20 per cent.

Commenting on the findings Conservative shadow health minister, Anne Milton, said: ‘This worrying increase in admissions to hospital due to drug and alcohol abuse clearly demonstrates the very real harm that drugs and alcohol cause, as well as the current failure to tackle these problems at an early stage.’

Liberal Democrat shadow health secretary, Norman Lamb added: ‘The government must focus on tackling drug and alcohol abuse before it forces people into the already overstretched mental health system.’

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

BMJ Online 2008

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