- Over the years, the drug addiction services (SERT) have activated specific interventions for the treatment of alcohol abuse behaviors and for the rehabilitation of alcohol-dependent subjects.
- Furthermore, in Piedmont the SERTs represent in most cases the lead service of the so-called alcohol work groups, established with Regional Law no. 37 of 23/4/90, with the task of coordinating the actions of the various services in the area, both public and private.
Ministry of Health reports on the activities carried out in the field of alcohol
With this paper we intend to evaluate the attractiveness of Piedmontese SERTs towards alcohol-dependent subjects, comparing alcohol-dependent users in the care of SERTs with hospitalizations for alcohol-related problems in Piedmont.
The former report in aggregate form the number of alcohol-dependent users (UAD) in care divided by age and sex, the latter report, among others, aggregate information on the possible hospitalization, and related reason, of the UAD in charge.
As a second source of information, the Piedmont SDOs of 1997-98-99 were selected regarding the first hospitalization in the year of Piedmontese residents, admitted to regional and extra-regional hospitals, which reported in the main diagnosis or in one of the three secondary diagnoses one of the following codes of the International Code of Diseases, 9th revision (ICD9), attributable to specifically alcohol-related diseases:
a) organic pathologies: 291 (alcohol-induced psychotic syndromes); 571.0-571.3 (steatosis, hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis); 425.5 (alcoholic cardiomyopathy);
b) other alcohol-related diagnoses: 303 (alcohol dependence syndrome); 305.0 (alcohol abuse); 790.3 (high alcohol); these codes are often used in detoxification therapies performed during hospitalization (3).
From 1997 to 1999, the number of UADs in charge of the Piedmontese SERTs increased by 27%: from 2741 in 1997, to 2991 in 1998 and 3492 in 1999.
In the three years analyzed, about 14% of UADs in charge (from 396 to 474 users) made a hospital stay.
About one third of these hospitalizations
- In the same years, the number of Piedmontese residents, therefore including the UADs in the care of the SERTs, hospitalized for problems specifically related to alcohol fluctuated around 5,500 units.
- About two thirds of the hospitalizations of Piedmontese residents were motivated by organic pathologies (neurological or liver damage). The remaining alcohol-related hospitalizations reported alcohol dependence or abuse syndromes as discharge diagnoses.
From the comparison of the hospitalizations carried out by the SERT UADs with the information of the SDOs in the three years considered, it was found that: a) among the residents in Piedmont hospitalized for alcohol-related problems, 7-9% were in the care of the SERTs; b) among those hospitalized for detoxification treatments the share of UAD was between 13 and 16%; c) the proportion of UAD among those hospitalized for alcohol-related diseases was 4-5%.
Table 1. Hospitalizations for alcohol-related diseases (ICD9: 291; 571.0-571.3; 790.3) and for alcohol dependence (ICD9: 303; 305.0; 425.5) in the general population and in alcohol-dependent users (UAD) in charge of drug addiction services . Piedmont 1997-99.