A unique insight into acute health harms is provided by hospital emergency data, which widen the scope of monitoring health consequences of drug use, beyond other more established indicators. Emergency data can serve as an indicator of high-risk drug use trends, as a source to characterise some sub-populations of drug users, for detecting and monitoring new patterns of use or abuse of substances (such as new synthetic drugs), or new trends regarding traditional drugs, for example new epidemics in heroin use.
This report presents the latest findings on drug-related hospital emergencies from a network of sentinel hospitals across Europe. Almost 24 000 emergency presentations were recorded at 32 sentinel hospitals over the first 4 years of the project. The data reveal that the substances most commonly involved in acute drug toxicity presentations include heroin, cocaine and cannabis.