Did you know that the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) is the only inpatient medical facility providing detoxification services for opiate and alcohol dependence in Bermuda?

According to the latest figures, there were 130 cases with a primary diagnosis that was related drug-related within the MWI in 2016 as compared to 111 in 2015.

Black males between the age of 46 and 60 accounted for “the majority of these cases with the primary diagnosis being opioid dependence and acute alcohol intoxication”.

On top of all the road traffic accident victims who end up in King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, there has also been an increase in the who end up in the Emergency Department due to alcohol or drug abuse.

“The emergency room saw 86 cases in 2015 in which the primary diagnosis was related to drugs, and increased to 111 cases in 2016.”

The information is contained in the 2017 Bermuda Drug Information Network (BerDIN), compiled by the Department of National Drug Control, which also stated that “the primary diagnosis was for alcohol abuse”.

The DNDC report compiles data collected over a two year period, which is published the following year. In this case the 2017 BerDin report covered 2015 through to the end of 2016.

“In 2015, there was an overall total of 500 cases reported to the emergency room for which there was a drug-related secondary diagnosis, as compared to 572 cases in 2016; with significantly more cases of males than females.

“The secondary diagnoses for the majority of drug-related cases in 2016 were due to alcohol abuse, tobacco use disorder, and opioid abuse.

“When it came to secondary diagnosis of poisoning and toxic effects of substances, 26 were presented in 2015 and 15 cases in 2016; with more incidents occurring to males versus females.”

In terms of secondary diagnoses at MWI, the report said “there were a total of 241 cases recorded in 2015 as compared to 183 in 2016, with significantly more males versus females, diagnosed with cannabis dependence, a tobacco use disorder, cocaine dependence, acute alcohol intoxication, amongst other secondary diagnoses”.

“As with the primary diagnoses, blacks and persons between the ages of 46 and 60 accounted for the bulk of the secondary diagnoses. There were no reported cases of poisoning and toxic effects of substances in either 2015 and 2016.”

It was also noted that: “Inpatient cases for which drugs were the primary diagnosis was very low to non-existent as reported by the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital as evidenced by the one case in 2015 and no cases seen in 2016.

“Similarly, inpatient cases in which poisoning and toxic effects were the primary diagnosis, declined significantly from the 25 cases observed in 2015 to no cases in 2016.

On the secondary diagnosis of cases at KEMH, “1,076 were recorded as inpatient drug-related cases, compared to 1,181 in 2016.

“Secondary diagnoses of greatest occurrence were for tobacco use disorder, chronic alcohol dependence, and cannabis abuse; a similar trend as in previous years.

“Secondary diagnoses of inpatient drug-related cases over the combined years of 2015 and 2016 were more prevalent among males (1,634) than females (623).”

“In 2015, there were 19 cases of secondary diagnosis of inpatient cases of poisoning and toxic effects of substances, whereas, in 2016, there were nine cases.

“Emergency room cases in which poisoning and toxic effects where the primary diagnosis saw 142 cases in 2015, as compared to 181 cases in 2016.”

The BerDin reports also cover the latest information on “one of the more serious health consequences of the use of illicit drugs, and in particular of drug injection”. Topping the list “is the transmission of HIV and other infectious diseases, notably hepatitis B and C”.

The 2017 report noted that these issues “may have the largest economic impact on health care systems of all consequences of drug use, even in countries where HIV prevalence in intravenous drug users (IDUs) is low”.

Based on the fact that the “relationship between intravenous drug use and the transmission of infection is well established”, “reducing intravenous drug use and the sharing of injecting equipment has, therefore, become a primary goal of public health interventions in this area”.

“Studies also point to a relationship between drug use and high-risk sexual activity; this suggests a growing importance in linking drug use interventions with public health strategies aimed at sexual health.

“The data for this indicator is collected by the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health and is tracked on an on-going basis through the monitoring of routine diagnostic testing for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C infections.”

The report continues: “The Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit reported five drug-related cases of hepatitis C in 2015 and three in 2016. Reports on these cases indicate a history or current use of injection drugs.”

The good news is not one single case of HIV or AIDS, related to drug use was recorded “in either of the year’s under review”.

But the report said: “The monitoring of this indicator needs to be strengthened to make this indicator more reliable and further improve the compatibility of prevalence data in IDUs, especially in the areas where data is not available, this is, to know whether other infectious diseases such as chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, herpes, and syphilis, were associated with injected drug use. In addition, there may also be under-reporting of some of these infections.”