Substance Abuse Post Disaster

These results are not a surprise for many of us. Just an update on an old problem. See: Natural Disasters May Increase Substance Abuse Risk, Study Finds

Researchers from multiple institutions, including the University of Miami, examined data from New Orleans to understand if residents were more at risk for substance abuse after living through the trauma of Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane hit New Orleans and surrounding areas as a Category 3 hurricane in 2005, causing hundreds of deaths and major devastation. Using hospital data from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, the researchers looked at data from 2004 and 2008 to see if there was a change in the rate of hospitalizations for substance abuse.

They found that the rate of hospitalizations for substance abuse increased approximately 30 percent, from 7.13 hospitalizations for 1,000 people to 9.65 hospitalizations for every 1,000 people, according to the finding published in the medical journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

“This result is not surprising given that a large segment of the local population experienced trauma, which had the potential to increase hospitalization rates at the same time that the city’s population was reduced,” the authors wrote in the study. “These 2 factors accounted for the high hospitalization rates in areas that lost population.”

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One Response to Substance Abuse Post Disaster

  1. plodinec says:

    30% actually may not be all that much. What was the standard deviation?

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