Article Title

Referral patterns and clinical characteristics of subjects referred to substance abuse clinic of a regional hospital in Hong Kong

Abstract

Objectives: To examine the clinical characteristics of subjects referred to the Substance Abuse Clinic of the Prince of Wales Hospital between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2009 in Hong Kong.

Methods: A chart review of 131 subjects referred to the Substance Abuse Clinic during the study period was carried out. Psychiatric diagnoses were made by a psychiatrist, according to the 10th edition of the International Classification of Diseases.

Results: Social workers were increasingly a main source of referrals, accounting for 34% of referrals during the entire study period (and 43% in 2009). Another important referral source was the Hospital Authority system in Hong Kong, which accounted for 38% of referrals over the 3-year study period. Ketamine, methamphetamine, and cough mixtures were the most common drugs of primary misuse, the proportion of users being 34%, 24% and 12%, respectively. In these referals, the most common psychiatric diagnosis was substance-induced psychotic disorder, followed by depressive disorder, made in 44% and 22% of the subjects, respectively.

Conclusions: Among Hong Kong substance abusers, psychotic and depressive disorders are common, and ketamine is the most commonly misused drug.

Keywords

peer-reviewed