Analysis of ED and UCC Visits Related to Synthetic Marijuana in ESSENCE-FL, 2010-2015


Illnesses related to synthetic marijuana use have been reported in many states, including Florida. Because these visits can present with a variety of symptoms, as well as be attributed to numerous diagnosis codes, it can be difficult to identify and quantify these visits. The Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics in Florida (ESSENCE-FL) receives chief complaint (CC) and discharge diagnosis (DD) data as free text allowing uncommon or new terms to be searched for within each patient visit. The main source of data for ESSENCE-FL is emergency department (ED) and urgent care center (UCC) data. There are currently 210 EDs and 33 UCCs throughout Florida that send their data to the ESSENCE-FL server. Using ESSENCE-FL, a free text query of patient CCs and DDs was used to identify visits related to synthetic marijuana use. This study is designed to analyze these identified visits for trends over time, geographical distribution and descriptive statistics and demographics.


One of the numerous functions of syndromic data has been the identification of visits of public health interest using customized free text queries. A specific query of syndromic data was created to search for and identify emergency department (ED) and urgent care center (UCC) visits possibly related to the use of synthetic marijuana to describe and quantify this public health issue in Florida.

Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
December, 2015

August 23, 2017

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