Estimating current injectors in Scotland and their drug-related death rate by sex, region and age-group via Bayesian capture-recapture methods

R. King, S.M. Bird, G. Hay, S.J. Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Using Bayesian capture-recapture methods, we estimate current injectors in Scotland in 2003, and, thereby, injectors' drug-related death rates for the period 2003-2005. Four different data sources are considered [Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) database, hospital admissions, social enquiry reports, and drug misuse database reports by General Practices or Drug Treatment Agencies] which provide covariate information on sex, region (Greater Glasgow versus elsewhere in Scotland) and age group (15-34 years and 35+ years). We quantified Scotland's current injectors in 2003 at 27,400 (95% highest probability density interval: 20,700-32,100) by incorporating underlying model uncertainty in terms of the possible interactions present between data sources and/or covariates. The posterior probability was 72% that Scotland had more current injectors in 2003 than in 2000. Detailed comparison with 2000 gave evidence of importantly changed numbers of current injectors for different covariate classes. In addition, and of particular social interest, is the estimation of injectors' drug-related death rates. Expert information was used to construct upper and lower bounds on the number of drug-related deaths pertaining to injectors, which were then used to provide bounds on injectors' drug-related death rates. Failure to incorporate expert information could result in over-estimation of drug-related death rates for subclasses of injectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-359
Number of pages18
JournalStatistical Methods in Medical Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • injectors
  • scotland
  • drug-related death rate
  • bayesian capture–recapture methods
  • statistics
  • mathematics
  • medical research

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