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HOME > Acute Crit Care > Volume 24(2); 2009 > Article
Original Article The Usefulness of a Triage Kit for Detecting Abused Drugs
Myoung Kwan Kwak, Won Young Kim, Hui Dong Kang, Jae Ho Lee, Bum Jin Oh, Won Kim, Kyoung Soo Lim

1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
2Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Gangneung Hospital, Gangneung, Korea.
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The recovery and outcome of intoxicated patients depends on the kind of drugs they took and the total time of their initial management. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the usefulness of a Triage drug kit for detecting abused drugs.
From 2003 Feb. to 2003 July, we studied the patients who visited the emergency department with suspicious drug intoxication. In this case, we used a Triage drug kit for 134 patients with drug intoxication or who were clinically suspected of taking illegal drugs, with 30 of the patients initially admitting the substance they had used. The kit is an immunoassay kit for qualitative testing drug metabolites in urine. To compare with those cases of the preceding year, we studied 104 patients with drug intoxication that was detected between February 2002 and July 2002.
Overall, 60% of the 30 cases who did not know what substance they abused and tested positive for, and 33% of the 27 cases with suspected intoxication confirmed their substance abuse. The positive rate for benzodiazepine use was the highest (46.7%), and there were no positive results regarding amphetamine, methamphetamine or cocaine. An appropriate antidote was administered significantly more frequently in the group for which we used the kit.
A Triage drug kit is probably useful for diagnosing acute drug intoxication and for identifying the causative substance. However, the time required to decide whether or not a patient should be admitted is not reduced. If the kit can detect the frequently abused drugs in Korea, it will be helpful for treating drug intoxicated patients.

ACC : Acute and Critical Care