Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Research & Data Analysis Division


Publication cover for 'The Health Impact of Substance Abuse: Accelerating Disease Progression and Death'

Nov 11 | 4.85 | Online Library

The Health Impact of Substance Abuse: Accelerating Disease Progression and Death

Substance abuse is a key driver of adverse outcomes across the spectrum of health and human services. In the areas of medical service utilization and potentially avoidable medical costs, research has shown that substance abuse increases the risk of hospitalization, increases the risk of acquiring infectious diseases, and is associated with drug-seeking behavior that results in extreme Emergency Department (ED) utilization. This study documents another pathway through which untreated substance abuse increases medical costs: by increasing the risk of onset and accelerating the progression of cardiovascular disease. This study leverages multi-year longitudinal data available in the DSHS Integrated Client Database to analyze long-term patterns of onset of hypertension, risk of progression from hypertension to more serious cardiovascular disease, medical costs, and mortality.