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Meth Fuelling Nearly All Drug-Related Hospital Attacks

Methamphetamines, known as 'ice', are powering violence against Melbourne hospital staff more than any other drug.

A new study by researchers at Melbourne Health and the University of Melbourne found 40 percent of patients -- involved in the study -- tested positive to drugs and of those, 92 percent tested positive for methamphetamines.

The researchers took 229 valid saliva samples during a six-month period from threatening patients at the Royal Melbourne Hospital emergency department to determine the results.

Of the 80,000 admissions to the Royal Melbourne Hospital annually, up to 3,500 of patients which present with acute behavioural disturbances such as aggression are on illicit substances.

The alarming figures indicate a serious safety concern for staff, prompting calls for different model of care.

Researchers took saliva from threatening patients at the Royal Melbourne Hospital emergency department. Image: Google

"This is a growing problem and needs to be approached with a different model of care where emergency, mental health, addiction and allied health clinicians work together in the same space, to provide the best care for these patients," Melbourne Health strategy, quality and improvement executive director, Professor George Braitberg, said.

According to AAP the Royal Melbourne Hospital is currently developing a crisis hub in its emergency department which will specialise in mental health, drug and alcohol support.

"This study shows the size of the problem and provides us with new data to assist us in identifying patients more likely to display abnormal or behavioural disturbance and allow us to apply this knowledge in the design of our crisis hub to provide that different model of care," Prof Braitberg added.

With AAP.

Featured image via Getty.