Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

The Journal of Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues

6 Issues per year


IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.746

CiteScore 2016: 0.54

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.348
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.383

Open Access
Online
ISSN
1458-6126
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 30, Issue 3 (Apr 2013)

Issues

The hidden population: Some methodological issues about estimation of problematic drug use

Mikael Dahlberg / Mats Anderberg
Published Online: 2013-05-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/nsad-2013-0011

Abstract

AIM - This article analyses and discusses the estimation of serious or problematic drug use through an empirical example based on a local Swedish study in Gothenburg. METHODS AND DATA - This was a case-finding study with questionnaires directed at organisations which have contact with the target group. The material was supplemented with information from the two documentation systems DOK and ASI. A total of 2,148 reports were collected. Health care data of 1,096 individuals was also collected for analysis with the truncated Poisson method. Analyses with capture-recapture or truncated Poisson were conducted to calculate the size of the hidden population. RESULTS - The statistical analyses resulted in variable numbers for the hidden population, and the total prevalence of serious drug abuse in Gothenburg is estimated to be between 2,200 and 4,400 people. CONCLUSION - The study shows that estimation of the presence and prevalence of problematic drug abuse involves many methodological difficulties and challenges. The significant variation of the size of the hidden population presented in the study raises doubts about the reliability and validity of the different methods. The methods are clearly sensitive to the importance of fulfilling the different basic assumptions

Keywords: Problematic drug use; estimating prevalence; hidden population; case finding; capture- recapture and truncated Poisson

  • Anderberg, M., & Dahlberg, M. (2009). Strukturerade intervjuer inommissbruksvården - som en grundför kunskapsutveckling. [Structured interviews in substance abuse treatment - as a foundation for the development of knowledge.[ Växjö: Växjö University Press.Google Scholar

  • Bloor, M. (2005). Population estimation without censuses or surveys: A discussion of mark-recapture methods illustrated by results from three studies. Sociology, 39(1), 121-138.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Brenner, H. (1996). Effects of misdiagnoses on disease monitoring with capture-recapture methods. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology,49(11), 1303-1307.Google Scholar

  • Bordens, K.S., & Abbott, B.B. (2005). Research,design and methods: A process approach. 6th edition. New York: McGraw Hill Higher Education.Google Scholar

  • Brå (2003). Polisens insatser motnarkotikabrottsligheten - Omfattning,karaktär och effekter. [Police efforts to combat drug offending: Their extent, character and effects]. Rapport 2003:12.\ Stockholm: BRÅ (Brottsförebyggande rådet).Google Scholar

  • CAN (2010). Drogutvecklingen i Sverige 2010. [Drug trends in Sweden 2010].Google Scholar

  • CAN Rapport 125. Stockholm: CAN (Centralförbundet för alkohol- och narkotikaupplysning).Google Scholar

  • Chao, A. (1989). Estimating population size for sparse data in capture-recapture experiments. Biometrics, 45(2), 427-438.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Chao, A., Tsay, P.K., Lin, S-H., Shau, W-Y., & Chao, D-Y. (2001). The application of capture-recapture models to epidemiological data. Statistics inMedicine, 20(3), 3123-3157.Google Scholar

  • Choi, Y.H., & Comiskey, C.M. (2003). Methods for providing the first prevalence estimates of opiate use in Western Australia. International Journal of Drug Policy, 14(4), 297-305.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Cormack, R.M. (1999a). Problems with using capture-recapture in epidemiology: An example of a measles epidemic. Journal ofClinical Epidemiology, 52(10), 909-914.Google Scholar

  • Cormack, R.M. (1999b). Reply to preceding comments. Journal of ClinicalEpidemiology, 52(10), 929-933.Google Scholar

  • Corrao, G., Bagnardi, V., Vittadini, G., & Favilli, S. (2000). Capture-recapture methods to size alcohol related problems in a population. Journal of Epidemiology andCommunity Health, 54(8), 603-610.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Domingo-Salvany, A., Hartnoll, R.L., Maguire, A., Brugal, T., Albertin, P., Caylà, J.A., Casabona, J., & Suelves, J.M. (1998). Analytical considerations in the use of capture-recapture to estimate prevalence: Studies of the estimation of opiate use in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, Spain. American Journal of Epidemiology, 148(8), 732-740.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • EMCDDA (1999a). Scientific review of theliterature on estimating the prevalenceof drug misuse on the local level. Lisbon: EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction).Google Scholar

  • EMCDDA (1999b). Methodological guidelinesto estimate the prevalence of problem druguse on the local level. Lisbon: EMCDDA.Google Scholar

  • EMCDDA (2002). European network todevelop policy relevant models andsocio-economic analyses of drug use,consequences and interventions. Lisbon: EMCDDA.Google Scholar

  • EMCDDA (2006). Annual report: The stateof the drugs problem in Europe. Lisbon: EMCDDA.Google Scholar

  • FHI (2010). Skattning av problematisk narkotikaanvändning 2007. In Narkotikabruket i Sverige (p. 305). [Drug use in Sweden]. Östersund: Statens folkhälsoinstitut.Google Scholar

  • Frischer, M., Hickman, M., Kraus, L., Mariani, F., & Wiessing, L. (2001). A comparison of different methods for estimating the prevalence of problematic drug misuse in Great Britain. Addiction, 96(10), 1465-1476.PubMedCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Gemmell, I., Millar, T., & Hay, G. (2004). Capture-recapture estimates of problem drug use and the use of simulation based confidence intervals in a stratified analysis. Journal of Epidemiology and CommunityHealth, 58(9), 758-765.Google Scholar

  • Hartnoll, R. (1997). General conclusions. In G.V. Stimson, M. Hickman, A. Quirk, M.Google Scholar

  • Frischer & C. Taylor (Eds.), Estimating theprevalence of problem drug use in Europe (pp. 263-264). Lisbon: EMCDDA.Google Scholar

  • Hay, G. (1997). The selection from multiple data sources in epidemiological capturerecapture studies. The Statistician, 46(4), 515-520.Google Scholar

  • Hay, G. (2003). Truncated Poisson analysesof data from the Riga Needle Exchange. Washington: The Synergy Project.Google Scholar

  • Hay, G., & Gannon, M. (2006). Capturerecapture estimates of the local and national prevalence of problem drug use in Scotland. International Journal of DrugPolicy, 17(3), 203-210.Google Scholar

  • Hay, G., & Smit, F. (2003). Estimating the number of drug injectors from needle exchange data. Addiction Research andTheory, 11(4), 235-243.Google Scholar

  • Hickman, M., & Taylor, C. (2005). Indirect methods to estimate prevalence. In Z. Sloboda (Ed.), Epidemiology of drug abuse (pp. ). New York: Springer.Google Scholar

  • Hickman, M., Cox, S., Harvey, J., Howes, S., Farrell, M., Frischer, M., Stimson, G., Taylor, C., & Tilling, K. (1999). Estimating the prevalence of problem drug use in inner London: A discussion of three capture-recapture studies. Addiction, 94(11), 1653-1662.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hickman, M., Taylor, C., Chatterjee, A., Degenhardt, L., Frischer, M., Hay, G., Tilling, K., Wiessing, L., Griffiths, P., & McKetin, R. (2002). Estimating the prevalence of problematic drug use: A review of methods and their application. Bulletin on Narcotics, 54(1-2), 15-32.Google Scholar

  • Hickman, M., Hope, V., Platt, L., Higgins, V., Bellis, M., Rhodes, T., Taylor, C., & Tilling, K. (2006). Estimating prevalence of injecting drug use: A comparison of multiplier and capture-recapture methods in cities in England and Russia. Drug andAlcohol Review, 25(2), 131-140.Google Scholar

  • Hook, E.B., & Regal, R.R. (1993). Effect of variation in probability of ascertainment by sources (“variable catchability”) upon capture-recapture estimates of prevalence. American Journal of Epidemiology, 137(10), 1148-1166.Google Scholar

  • Hook, E.B., & Regal, R.R. (1995). Capturerecapture methods in epidemiology: Methods and limitations. EpidemiologicalReviews, 17(2), 243-264.Google Scholar

  • Hook, E.B., & Regal, R.R. (1999). On the need for a 16th and 17th recommendation for capture-recapture analysis. Journal ofClinical Epidemiology, 53(12), 1275-1277.Google Scholar

  • Hook, E.B., & Regal, R.R. (2000a). Recommendations for presentations and evaluations of capture-recapture estimates in epidemiology. Journal of ClinicalEpidemiology, 52(10), 917-826.Google Scholar

  • Hook, E.B., & Regal, R.R. (2000b). Accuracy of alternative approaches to capture-recapture estimates of disease frequency: Internal validity analysis of data from five sources. American Journal of Epidemiology, 152(8), 771-778.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hser, Y-I. (1993). Population estimation of illicit drug users in Los Angeles County. The Journal of Drug Issues, 23(2), 323-334.Google Scholar

  • Kimber, J., Hickman, M., Degenhardt, L., Coulson, T., & van Beek, I. (2008). Estimating the size and dynamics of an injecting drug user population and implications for health service coverage: Comparison of indirect prevalence estimation methods. Addiction, 103(10), 1604-1613.PubMedCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kraus, L., Augustin, R., Frischer, M., Kümmler, P., Uhl, A., & Wiessing, L. (2003). Estimating prevalence of problem drug use at national level in countries of the European Union and Norway. Addiction, 98(4), 471-485.CrossrefPubMedGoogle Scholar

  • Korf, D.J. (1997). Comparison of different estimation methods in the Netherlands. In G.V. Stimson, M. Hickman, A. Quirk, M. Frischer & C. Taylor (Eds.), Estimatingthe prevalence of problem drug use inEurope (pp. ). Lisbon: EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction).Google Scholar

  • Law, M.G., Degenhardt, L., & McKetin, R. (2006). Methods estimating the prevalence of problem drug use. Journal of DrugPolicy, 17(3), 154-158.Google Scholar

  • McLellan, A.T., Cacciola, J.S. & Alterman, A.I., Rikoon, S.H., & Carise, D. (2006). The Addiction Severity Index at 25: Origins, contributions and transitions. TheAmerican Journal on Addictions, 15(2), 113-124.Google Scholar

  • Maxwell, J.C., & Pullum, T.W. (2001). Using a modification of the capture-recapture model to estimate the need for substance abuse treatment. Evaluation and ProgramPlanning, 24(3), 257-265.Google Scholar

  • Millar, T., Gemmell, I., Hay, G., & Donmall, M. (2004). The dynamics of drug misuse:Assessing changes in prevalence. Glasgow: The Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow.Google Scholar

  • Millar, T., Domingo-Salvany, A. Eastwood, C., & Hay, G. (2008). Glossary of terms relating to capture-recapture methods. Journal ofEpidemiology & Community Health, 62(8), 677-681.Google Scholar

  • Narkomanvårdskommittén (1969).Google Scholar

  • Narkotikaproblemet. Samordnade åtgärder. Del III. [The drug problem. Co-ordinated actions. Part III]. SOU 1969:52. Stockholm: Esselte.Google Scholar

  • Neugebauer, R., & Wittes, J. (1994). Annotation: Voluntary and involuntary capture-recapture samples - Problems in the estimation of hidden and elusive populations. American Journal of PublicHealth, 84(7), 1068-1069.Google Scholar

  • Olsson, B. (1997). Problems of definition and other aspects of case-finding: The Swedish nationwide studies. In G.V. Stimson, M. Hickman, A. Quirk, M. Frischer & C. Taylor (Eds.), Estimating the prevalenceof problem drug use in Europe. Lisbon: EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction).Google Scholar

  • Olsson, B. (1999). Metoder att uppskatta antalet narkotikamissbrukare. In Narkotikastatistik - om samhällets behovav information om narkotikastatistik (pp.). [Drug statistics: On society’s need for information about narcotics]. SOU 1999:90. Stockholm: Socialdepartementet.Google Scholar

  • Olsson, B., Carlsson, G., Fant, M., Olsson, O., & Roth, C. (1981). Heavy drug abuse in Sweden 1979 - A national case-finding study. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 7(3), 273-283.Google Scholar

  • Olsson, B., Adamson Wahren, C., & Byqvist, S. (2001). Det tunga narkotikamissbruketsomfattning i Sverige 1998. MAX-projektet,delrapport 3. [The extent of heavy drug abuse in Sweden 1998]. Stockholm: CAN (Centralförbundet för alkohol- och narkotikaupplysning).Google Scholar

  • Olsson, O., Byqvist, S., & Gomér, G. (1994). The prevalence of heavy narcotics abuse in Sweden in 1992. Scandinavian Journal ofSocial Welfare, 3(2), 81-84.Google Scholar

  • Papoz, L., Balkau, B., & Lellouch, J. (1996). Case counting in epidemiology: Limitations of methods based on multiple data sources. International Journal of Epidemiology, 25(3), 474-478.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Simon, R. (1997). Estimating prevalence using the case-finding method: An overview. In G.V. Stimson, M. Hickman, A. Quirk, M. Frischer & C. Taylor (Eds.), Estimating theprevalence of problem drug use in Europe. Lisbon: EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction).Google Scholar

  • Socialstyrelsen (2012). Tillståndet ochutvecklingen inom hälso- och sjukvårdenoch socialtjänsten. Lägesrapport 2012. [The status and development in health care and social services]. Stockholm: Socialstyrelsen.Google Scholar

  • SOU (2005). Personer med tungt missbruk. Stimulans till bättre vård och behandling. [People with heavy drug abuse. Incentives for better care and treatment]. Stockholm: Fritzes offentliga publikationer.Google Scholar

  • SOU (2011). Missbruket, Kunskapen, Vården. Missbruksutredningens forskningsbilaga. [Drug abuse, knowledge, care. Governmental report, research appendix].Google Scholar

  • Stockholm: Fritzes offentliga publikationer.Google Scholar

  • Svensson, D. (2005). Tungt missbruk avalkohol och narkotika. [Problematic use of alcohol and drugs]. Unpublished paper. Göteborg: Göteborgs stad.Google Scholar

  • Tilling, K. (2001). Capture-recapture methods - Useful or misleading? InternationalJournal of Epidemiology, 30(1), 12-14.Google Scholar

  • Uhl, A., & Seidler, D. (2001). Prevalenceestimate of problematic opiateconsumption in Austria, second revisededition. Vienna: Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Addiction Research.Google Scholar

  • Vaissade, L., & Legleye, S. (2008). Capture recapture estimates of the local prevalence of problem drug use in six French cities. European Journal of Public Health, 19(1), 32-37.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Zelterman, D. (1988). Robust estimation in truncated discrete distributions with application to capture-recapture experiments. Journal of Statistical Planningand Inference, 18(2), 225-237Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2013-05-04

Published in Print: 2013-04-01


Citation Information: Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN (Online) 1458-6126, ISSN (Print) 1455-0725, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/nsad-2013-0011.

Export Citation

This content is open access.

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in