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Hannah Lee 1 Article
Assessment of Epidemiologic Data and Surveillance in South Korean Substance Use Research: Insights and Future Directions
Meekang Sung, Vaughan W. Rees, Hannah Lee, Mohammad S Jalali
Received March 28, 2024  Accepted May 29, 2024  Published online June 24, 2024  
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.24.171    [Accepted]
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
Effective data collection and surveillance of epidemiological trends are essential in confronting the growing challenges associated with substance use (SU), especially in light of emerging trends and underreporting of cases. However, research and data are scarce regarding SU and substance use disorder (SUD) in Korea.
Methods
We conducted a scoping review to identify data sources and surveillance methods used in SU research in Korea up to December 2023. This review was complemented by semi-structured consultations with experts in this area in Korea, whose feedback led to revisions of previously identified data sources and assessments.
Results
Our review identified 32 publications conducting secondary analyses on existing data to examine the epidemiology of SU and SUD in Korea. Of these, 14 studies utilized clinical databases to explore the prescription patterns of addictive substances, particularly opioids. Eleven data sources showed promise for advancing SU research; however, they face substantial limitations, including a lack of available data, missing data, the absence of key variables, the exclusion of marginalized populations not captured within the clinical system, and complexities in matching individual-level data across time points and datasets.
Conclusions
Current surveillance methods for SU in Korea face considerable challenges in accessibility, usability, and standardization. Moreover, existing data repositories may fail to capture information on populations not served by clinical or judicial systems. To systematically improve surveillance approaches, it is necessary to develop a robust and nationally representative survey, refine the use of existing clinical data, and ensure the availability of data on treatment facilities.
Summary

JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health