Culling Existing Health Data Could Help Officials Understand Teen Drug Abuse

By Staff Writer

A group of researchers from Dalhousie University in Canada has suggested using administrative data to look at trends in adolescent substance abuse. The team said that there is a wealth of information that has already been collected that may help public health officials direct their addiction treatment efforts.

They said that documents such as hospital intake and discharge forms, physician billings and trauma registries all contain information pertaining the underage abuse of drugs. This could provide a trove of data to health officials who are looking to understand the problem of teen addiction better.

Developing a complete understanding of the problem of substance abuse could play a critical role in fighting it, the researchers said. Currently, public health figures on the subject are incomplete. This makes it difficult for agencies to develop accurate and targeted campaigns to address the issue.

However, taking advantage of existing information could be a major boon for these agencies. The researchers said that this could lead to significant advancements in fighting teen drug abuse.