Author(s): Velasco Arnaiz E, Trenchs Sainz de la Maza, Curcoy Barcenilla AI, Velasco Rodrguez J, Matal Costa JL,
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Abstract INTRODUCTION AND AIM: Cannabis is the most frequently consumed illicit substance in Spain. Adolescence is the period when most people come into contact with this drug. The aim of this study is to evaluate the characteristics of patients who have recently consumed cannabis and who are evaluated in the Paediatric Emergency Department in order to pinpoint their profile and do a follow-up. MATERIAL AND METHOD: Study of the medical reports of patients who tested positive for cannabis in urine toxicological analysis over 2 years (2007-2008). Epidemiological characteristics (patient age, sex, psychiatric antecedents and if they were placed in institutional care) as well as the patient's reason for checking into hospital, the specialist who asked for the test, the test result, its positivity for other drugs of abuse and the patient's whereabouts once he or she had been released from hospital were evaluated. RESULTS: Seventy-two of 533 patients tested positive for cannabis. Excluding one child with an accidental intoxication, their mean age was 16.2 years (SD 1.2 years; range 13.4-18 years-old); 43 (60.6\%) were male. Thirteen (18.3\%) teenagers were being looked after by the Administration and 24 (33.8\%) had psychiatric antecedents. Thirty-five (48.6\%) consultations took place from Friday to Sunday, with no particular increase in the number of patients in specific time-periods. The medical consultations were mainly related to alterations in the level of consciousness 29 (40.3\%) and agitation 19 (26.4\%). In 12 (16.7\%) cases the patients had also been known to have drunk alcohol, and 4 (5.6\%) of them had also taken cocaine. In 42 (58.3\%) occasions, patients were discharged to home, 20 (27.8\%) were admitted to the hospital and 10 (13.9\%) were referred to the outpatients' department for a follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: There was a predominance of teenage males in the consumption of cannabis. In many cases, there was a related psycho-social element to the use of the substance and those who consumed cannabis appeared in many cases to have consumed other drugs of abuse. There are still many patients who, after having checked into the Paediatric Emergency Department, show no record of having received a proper follow-up. We highlight the need to improve this aspect. Copyright 2009 Asociación Española de Pediatría. Published by Elsevier Espana. All rights reserved.
This article was published in An Pediatr (Barc)
and referenced in Chemical Sciences Journal