Original Article

Identification of Substance Abuse among Children in Pediatric Emergency Department


  • Nükhet Aladağ Çiftdemir
  • Tuba Eren
  • Yasemin Karal

Received Date: 30.11.2018 Accepted Date: 10.05.2019 J Pediatr Res 0;0(0):0-0 [e-Pub]


Illicit substance use is a worldwide important public health problem with increasing substance use rate and decreasing starting age. In this study our aim was to determine the complaints of the patients in pediatric emergency department admission in order to increase awareness about substance use.

Materials and Methods:

The data of this cross-sectional study was gathered from the patients admitted to the pediatric emergency department with complaints of substance abuse and patients without an history of substance abuse, but with a positive urine drug test. A screening urine test was used for the qualitative determination of drug substances. If positive, a quantitative liquid chromatography integrated mass/mass spectrometry test was order for confirmation.


A total of 17 patients were presented in the emergency department. Most frequent symptoms were unstable cognitive conditions and tachycardia. Laboratory analyses showed high creatine kinase-MB. Synthetic cannabinoids were the most frequently detected substance in urine screening and confirmation tests. Twenty-nine percent of patients were hospitalized and no mortality was observed.


The use of illegal substances is increased in teenagers. Emergency department doctors must be informed and trained regarding substance abuse since patients are frequently presented in the emergency department with cognitive malfunctions. Also, it should be remembered that patients may present with symptoms concerning various organ systems.

Keywords: Pediatric emergency, substance use, synthetic cannabinoids