A record linkage study of hospital episodes for drug treatment clients in Scotland, 1996-2006

Elizabeth L.C. Merrall, Sheila M Bird, Sharon Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Despite drug users’ high mortality rates, their contacts with hospital and psychiatric treatment have received comparatively little quantification. We provide a comprehensive summary and characterisation of the hospital and psychiatric treatment episodes of a national cohort of drug treatment clients during 1996–2006. Drug treatment records were linked to national registers of deaths, hepatitis C virus (HCV) diagnoses and hospital and psychiatric episodes (hereafter hospital episode). Allowing for overdispersion, we calculated hospital episode rates (HERs) by main diagnosis at discharge; standardised hospital episode ratios (SHERs) during 2001/2002 to 2005/2006 only and Cox regression analyses of time-to-hospital-episode. The Scottish Drug Misuse Database (SDMD) cohort comprised 69,457 individuals and 350,317 person-years (pys) with 107,723 hospital episodes by 27,124 individuals: 70,094 hospital episodes occurred during 229,504 pys in 2001/2002 to 2005/2006.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalAddiction Research and Theory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013



  • record linkage study
  • drug treatment centre
  • Scotland
  • hepatitis C virus

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