Ecstasy and related drug consumption and the effect on emergency department resource use

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Background: Ecstasy and other recreational related drug use and substance related presentations to the emergency department are increasing. The aim of this study was to identify, quantify, and describe the emergency department resources used to care for patients diagnosed with ecstasy and related drug use. Method: A retrospective case study design. Results: Eighty-nine patients (89%) needed one to one (n = 25) and/or one to two nursing care (n = 83). Security presence was required for 37 patients (37%) and the Emergency Psychiatric Service team reviewed 29 patients (29%). Most patients (n = 80, 80%) received an Emergency Short Stay Unit admission, but continued to receive care in the emergency department, and were not transferred to the short stay unit (n = 74, 92.5%). Most patients (n = 86, 86%) were discharged home, after 5hr 49mins (median) in the emergency department. Conclusion: Extensive human resources were required to care for patients diagnosed with ecstasy and related drug use. Nursing staffing levels required to care for this patient cohort during times of peak presentations should be reviewed. It is important the government acknowledges the National Emergency Access Target is not suitable for all presenting patients. A dedicated model of care is recommended to support care requirements and reduce pressure on busy emergency departments.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Emergency Care
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Ecstasy and related drugs
  • Emergency Nursing
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Illicit drugs
  • Resource allocation
  • Workforce

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