Article| Volume 17, ISSUE 2, P75-83, March 2007

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Trends in Rates of Hospitalization with a Diagnosis of Substance Abuse among Reproductive-Age Women, 1998 to 2003


      To describe trends in hospitalizations with a diagnosis of substance abuse among reproductive-age women from 1998–2003.


      Data were obtained from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Inpatient Sample. Hospitalizations with a diagnosis of substance abuse were categorized into subgroups by age, primary expected payer, substance-specific diagnoses, concomitance, and hospital location. Trends in hospitalization rates per 100,000 women aged 15–44 were tested using a weighted least-squares method.


      From 1998–2003, there was no change in the overall rate of hospitalization with a diagnosis of substance abuse among women aged 15–44. Alcohol abuse was the most common substance-specific diagnosis. The rate of hospitalization with a diagnosis of cocaine abuse decreased 22%; for a diagnosis of cannabis abuse, the rate increased 35%. The rate of hospitalization with a diagnosis of amphetamine abuse doubled from 1998–2003. Among women aged 15–24, the rate of hospitalization with a diagnosis of substance abuse increased 23%.


      Although we did not observe a change in the overall rate of substance-abuse hospitalization among reproductive-age women, there were dramatic changes in the rate of substance-specific diagnoses. These data may be used to quantify emerging trends in substance abuse and promote the use of hospital-based interventions.
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      Shanna Cox, MSPH, is an ORISE Research Fellow with the Division of Reproductive Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is an epidemiologist that analyzes hospital discharge data, focusing on disparities in health services and women’s health.


      Christopher H. Johnson, MS, is a Senior Mathematical Statistician with the Division of Reproductive Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His work focuses on survey methodology, sample design, vital records, and issues of estimation from survey data.


      Susan Meikle, MD, MSPH, is the senior medical officer in the Office of Research On Women’s Health in the Office of the Director at NIH. Dr. Meikle is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and preventive medicine. This dual certification has served to fuel Dr. Meikle’s research interests in perinatal epidemiology, interventional studies, and evidence-based medicine as it relates to women’s health.


      Dr. Denise J. Jamieson is a medical officer in the U.S. Public Health Service and the team leader of the Unintended pregnancy, STD, HIV Intervention Research Team in the Women’s Health and Fertility Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She is also a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University. Dr. Jamieson has worked in the area of infectious diseases in obstetrics and gynecology, focusing largely on HIV.


      Samuel F. Posner, PhD, is the Associate Director for Science and a Senior Science Officer in the Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has worked a number of areas women’s health, substance use, access to care and patient provider communication.