Researchers investigating the epidemiological impact of drugs on health routinely use aetiologic fractions to estimate drug-caused morbidity and mortality. Australia-specific aetiologic fractions for this purpose were developed by Holman et al in 1990. They determined the conditions for which there was adequate evidence that drugs were a contributing factor and the extent to which drugs contributed to the disease or injury by conducting meta-analyses of published scientific literature. The alcohol-related conditions and aetiologic fractions were revised by English et al in 1995, and again by Ridolfo and Stevenson in 2001.
Underpinning the aetiologic fraction methodology is the identification of deaths or admissions from drug-related conditions using standard codes, I.e. the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The drug-related conditions identified in the three reports were all defined using well established ICD-9-CM2 codes. Since these publications, however, the coding of causes of death and reasons for presentation to hospital have changed to ICD-10. Due to this major overhaul in the coding system, it has been necessary to establish a new set of ICD-10 codes for drug-related diseases and conditions.
A working group from the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) and the Department of Health, Western Australia (DOH, WA) have been addressing the problems involved in mapping alcohol-related conditions from ICD-9 to ICD-10. This report documents the issues identified and provides a summary of the consensus recommendations reached by the two centres.