By United Nations
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Extra resources for Developing An Integrated Drug Information System: Global Assessment Programme On Drug Abuse: Toolkit Module 1
In some countries, hospital admissions and discharges are reported centrally, so that hospitals will have the information available. Elsewhere no central records may be available. If the International Classification of Diseases is used to code the diagnosis associated with the hospital stay, then this may allow the number of drug-related admissions to be assessed, However, unless drug use is the primary, secondary or contributing diagnosis, it will not appear on the reports. In addition, the individual drug type may not be listed, nor will other useful information necessarily be available, such as the route of administration.
All those approaches are active, requiring data collection that is standardized but open-ended. Key informants can serve to provide infomation when data are sparse, to better characterise existing data and to interpret the results of data analyses. Interviews with key informants and ”gatekeepers” to the data and the populations of interest should be a part of the integrated drug information system. These interviews describe the nature of the drug abuse problem within an area, responding to the following: (O) What types of drugs are available; (hl How they are used; (e) What populations are using them; (I) What are the significant consequences of their use.
Another problem consists in distinguishing between new treatment demands and long-time service users. As many drug users drop out of treatment or relapse after receiving care, drug services often have a disproportion number of long-term and older repeat attendees. The characteristics of this group may be different from those of new clients entering treatment for the first time. Many treatment reporting systems therefore 39 GAP Toolkit Module I Developing an Tntegrated Drug Information System try t o distinguish between first and subsequent treatment demands.