Substance abuse is expected to be a growing problem in Iraq after 2003. Hospitals and health center’s records can provide valuable information about this problem.
To know the number of substance abuse cases presented to our health services during 2008, to explore the socio-demographic characteristics of patients and types of substance use, and to compare the results with those of 2001,2002, and 2007.
The records of substance abuse that are periodically sent from hospitals and health centers to the Ministry of Health were studied. Records of 2008 were studied in details and compared with the figures recorded in the years 2001, 2002, and 2007 to have an idea about the progress of the problem of substance abuse before and after 2003.
There was 1462 cases recorded in 2008. Males were much more than females (96.4% vs. 3.6%), most cases were above the age of 18 years of age (95.8%). Most cases (87.5%) were presented to the outpatient clinics rather than to inpatient units. Prescription drug abuse was the most common type (74.6%). There was no increase in cases recorded before and after in 2003.
This study may indicate that the size of substance abuse related health problems in Iraq is small or is underreported. The socio-demographic pattern is similar to what was found by other studies in Iraq