Where to Find Nationwide Trends and Statistics
Major sources of data on the extent of drug use in the United States include the following:
Monitoring the Future (MTF)
The MTF survey measures drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes among 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students nationwide. Survey participants report their drug use behaviors across three time periods: lifetime, past year, and past month. The annual survey is funded by NIDA and is conducted by the University of Michigan. Results from the survey are released late each fall. For the latest survey results, go to www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/MTF.html.
National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS)
NDEWS will monitor emerging trends to help health experts respond quickly to potential outbreaks of illicit drug use and to identify increased use of designer synthetic compounds. The system will scan social media and Web platforms to identify new trends as well as use conventional national- and local-level data resources that are utilized by the Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG). Development of this project started August 2014. The system is expected to launch in 2015 as an enhancement (and eventual replacement) of the current system – the CEWG. Until then, project updates can be found on the CEWG Web site: www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/organization/workgroups-interest-groups-consortia/community-epidemiology-work-group-cewg.
National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) NSDUH (formerly called the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse) is the primary source of information on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use in the general U.S. civilian non-institutionalized population, ages 12 and older. Survey information can be found at www.samhsa.gov/data/population-data-nsduh.
Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN)
The DAWN report, also prepared by SAMHSA, provides information about the impact of drug use on hospital emergency departments in the United States. It reports the number of visits to the emergency department that were related directly to the use of an illegal drug or the nonmedical use of a legal drug, as well as drug-related deaths investigated by medical examiners and coroners. DAWN is not a measure of the prevalence of use but instead offers information complementary to the prevalence data found in the NSDUH. Survey information can be found at www.samhsa.gov/data/DAWN.aspx.
Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS)
The TEDS system includes records for approximately 1.5 million substance abuse treatment admissions annually. While TEDS does not represent all substance abuse treatment activities, it comprises a significant proportion of all admissions to substance abuse treatment programs and includes those admissions that rely on public funds. Data are reported by sex, age, and race/ethnicity for each of 15 substance abuse categories. TEDS is maintained by SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies, and can be found at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/client-level-data-teds.
Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)
The YRBS, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), is a school-based survey that collects data from students in grades 9–12. The survey includes questions on a wide variety of health-related risk behaviors, including substance use. More information is available at www.cdc.gov/ HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm.
CDC’s Home & Recreational Safety: Drug Overdose Data
CDC consolidates information from their Wide-ranging OnLine Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) database, which tracks underlying cause of death, and SAMHSA’s DAWN data to provide information on U.S. drug overdose deaths. More information is available at www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/overdose/index.html.
A wealth of material regarding various aspects of drug use and addiction is available, free of charge, from NIDA.
NIDA Web Site
Through its online and mobile presence, NIDA strives to communicate its research findings to the wide-ranging audiences it serves, which include students, parents, teachers, researchers, scientists, prevention and treatment practitioners, health care professionals, policymakers, constituent groups, children and teens, underserved populations, and the general public.
Most of NIDA’s publications are available on NIDA’s Web site: www.drugabuse.gov. The site’s responsive design allows users to access the information on handheld devices, including smart phones and tablets, and some resources can be ordered free in hard copy.
Other NIDA Sites:
- For low literacy users: www.easyread.drugabuse.gov
- For teens and people who work with teens: www.teens.drugabuse.gov
- Information for young adults on the link between HIV/AIDS and drugs: www.hiv.drugabuse.gov
- NIDA’s intramural research program: www.irp.drugabuse.gov
NIDA’s New Media Accounts:
- Twitter: @NIDAnews
- RSS feed: www.drugabuse.gov/nidanews.xml
- YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/NIDANIH
- Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/nida-nih/collections/
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/the-national-institute-on-drug-abuse-nida
Other Government Web Sites for Health and Science Information
National Institutes of Health (NIH) (www.nih.gov)
NIH is the steward of medical and behavioral research for the Nation. Its mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to extend health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The NIH site links to sites for its 27 Institutes and Centers.
RePORTER includes information on research projects funded by the NIH as well as CDC, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Health Resources and Services Administration, SAMHSA, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. RePORTER also includes links to publications and patents citing support from these projects.
Project results can be filtered according to specific parameters, such as Principal Investigator, Fiscal Year, keyword, etc.
Note: when doing a “Text Search” to filter by certain keywords, you will have to read the description of each study to determine if that research is actually focusing on your keyword of interest. In some cases, the term may be merely mentioned in the grant application but is not the topic of the study.
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
NLM is the world’s largest library dealing with a single scientific/professional topic. It cares for nearly 19 million holdings (including books, journals, reports, manuscripts, and audiovisual items) and sponsors MedlinePlus, a source of up-to-date, quality health care information from NLM and NIH.
ClinicalTrials.gov lists publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. ClinicalTrials.gov does not contain all the clinical studies conducted in the United States because not all studies (for example, observational studies and trials that do not study a drug, biologic, or device) are required by law to be registered. The Web site is maintained by NLM.
Healthfinder is a Government Web site providing resources on a wide range of health topics, selected from approximately 1,400 Government and non-profit organizations.
Office on Women’s Health (OWH)
OWH provides up-to-date and commercial-free health information on topics that range from reproductive health to healthy aging. The site provides easy-to-understand health information, daily announcements, links to thousands of free health publications and Web sites, and statistics on women’s health.
Office of Adolescent Health (OAH)
OAH is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of America’s adolescents, especially those who are most vulnerable.