Assessing Drug Abuse Within and Across Communities
To help communities understand their local drug abuse problems NIDA developed this guidebook to assist in the development of a drug abuse epidemiologic surveillance systems to assess local drug abuse patterns and trends. This model can be used by states counties cities and communities. It is based on the work of NIDA’s Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) a national surveillance network composed of researchers from around the country that has been meeting biannually for more than 20 years to monitor drug use and abuse trends.
This paper by John Newmeyer was written in 1991 and is still an excellent introduction to how to begin to determine the characteristics and size of the drug problem in an area. The capture-recapture methodology will be limited by confidentiality requirements but the logic for how to begin to study the epidemiology is clear and useful.
Monitoring the Future Survey
The Monitoring the Future Survey (National School Survey) conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health has tracked 12th graders’ illicit drug use and attitudes towards drugs since 1975. It now reports on prevalence for 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students(volume 1) and college students and young adults (volume 2).
Youth Risk Behavior Survey
Conducted by the Center for Disease Control The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) was developed in 1990 to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death disability and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. To this end the CDC has conducted a number of Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. YRBS data are available for the US, for states, and for local school districts that chose to participate.
National Survey on Drug Use and Health
SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use & Health [formerly called the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA)] is the primary source of information on the prevalence patterns and consequences of alcohol tobacco and illegal drug use and abuse in the general U.S. civilian non institutionalized population age 12 and older. It is currently conducted by SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Every two years SAMHSA combines two years’ of survey data to produce state and substate estimates of the prevalence of alcohol and drug use.
The National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS)
N-SSATS is an annual voluntary survey of all substance abuse treatment facilities in the I-SATS that collects information on location characteristics services offered and utilization. The N-SSATS includes an annual survey of substance abuse treatment services and capacity in adult and juvenile treatment programs. Before 2000 the N-SSATS was known as the Uniform Facility Data Set (UFDS). This dataset is available on-line so statewide analysis can be done, as well as analysis by program type and services for special populations.
ADDITIONAL DATA SOURCES
- Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) – Emergency Room Data DAWN ended in 2011 and a replacement data system is under development
- SAMHSA’s Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) – National and State Treatment Data; Every state reports admission and discharge information on all individuals in treatment. In some states, all private and public programs reports, while in other states, only publicly-funded programs report.
- SAMHSA’s data on state, census region, and metro areas
- National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) receives reports from about 95% of state and local toxicology laboratories who report the contents of drug seizures. See the semi-annual and annual reports for information on the types of drugs seized and the chemical contents.
- U.S. Census Bureau and the American Community Survey (ACS) provide data on the population of an area and the characteristics of the population.
- CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics at http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd.htm http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd.htm is an on-line source to retrieve mortality data, including age, race, ethnicity gender, county of death and county of residence and specific drug categories. The mortality data is available soonest from the local coroner’s office, then from the state vital statistics unit, and then from CDC. The lags are due to delays in reporting the final death certificate data
- The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (Arrests)
STATE AND LOCAL SUBSTANCE ABUSE DATA
The state’s health department collects data on deaths involving drugs and case rates for STDs and HIV/AIDS. The state data is then forwarded to CDC, but obtaining the data at the state level provides access to data which may lag by a year if it is accessed at the federal level.
Poison centers collect data on human exposure to many drugs, including the new ones that may not been yet seen in treatment data. The national data is compiled by the American Association of Poison Control Centers but obtaining the data at the national level may be costly.
State and local school surveys are available in some states. Check with the state education department to see if local data are available.
DEA intelligence divisions, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA), and local narcotics officers also have data on arrests and the emergence of new trends in drug use, as well as price, trafficking, distribution, and supply information..
Reports by STD and HIV street outreach workers also are important in learning who is using particular drugs, emerging patterns, and health risk data, as well as the levels of risky behavior. The local health department also has data on sexually transmitted diseases and the relationship between different modes of use and transmission of diseases.
National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors
(NASADAD) keeps current links to substance abuse data for a variety of states
ARCHIVED PUBLICATIONS FROM TCADA
- An Ethnographic Comparison of the Mexican American Drug Culture in El Paso, Texas:1987 to 1997 (PDF)
- An Ethnographic Study of Heroin Abuse by Mexican Americans in San Antonio, Texas (PDF)
- Fry: A Study of Adolescents Use of Embalming Fluid with Marijuana and Tobacco (PDF)
- Leaning on syrup: The misuse of opioid cough syrup in Houston (PDF)
- The Rave Scene in Houston, Texas: An Ethnographic Analysis (PDF)
- Volatile Substance Abuse Among the Kickapoo People in the Eagle Pass, Texas Area, 1993 (PDF)
- DWI Recidivism in Texas: 1985-1988 (PDF)
- DWI Recidivism in Texas: 1987-1990 (PDF)
- Understanding Inhalant Users (PDF)
- An Ethnographic Study of Mexican American Inhalant Abusers in San Antonio, Texas (PDF)
- The Rave Scene in Houston: An Ethnographic Analysis (PDF)
- Understanding Inhalant Abusers (PDF)
- Gambling in Texas: 1995 Surveys of Adult and Adolescent Gambling Behavior (PDF)
- 1992 Texas Survery of Adult Gambling Behavior (PDF)
- 1992 Texas Survey of Adolescent Gambling Behavior (PDF)
- Economic Costs in Texas 2000 (PDF)
- Economic Costs in Texas 1997 (PDF)
- Economic Costs in Texas 1994 (PDF)
- Economic Costs in Texas 1989 (PDF)
Secondary School Surveys
- 1988 (PDF)
- 1990 (PDF)
- 1992 (PDF)
- 1992 Youth at High Risk of Dropping Out (PDF)
- 1993 Being Drug-Free: Resiliency Factors in Texas Youth (PDF)
- 1994 (PDF)
- 1996 (PDF)
- 1998 (PDF)
- 1998 Border (PDF)
- 2000 (PDF)
- 2002 (PDF)
Elementary School Surveys
- 1988 Adult (PDF)
- 1996 Adult (PDF)
- 2000 Adult (PDF)
- 1996 Border (PDF)
- 1997 College (PDF)
- 2005 College (PDF)
Criminal Justice Surveys
- 1988 Male Prison (PDF)
- 1993 Male Institutional Division (PDF)
- 1994 Female Institutional Division (PDF)
- 1994-1995 Probationers (PDF)
- 1998 Male Prison (PDF)
- 1998 Male State Jail (PDF)
- 1998 Female Prison (PDF)
- 1998 Female State Jail (PDF)
- 1998-2000 Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facilities (PDF)