Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2008: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits

This publication presents national estimates of drug-related visits to hospital emergencydepartments (EDs) for 2008, based on data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). Alsopresented are comparisons of 2008 estimates with those for 2004, 2006, and 2007. DAWN is apublic health surveillance system that monitors drug-related ED visits for the Nation and forselected metropolitan areas. […]

This publication presents national estimates of drug-related visits to hospital emergencydepartments (EDs) for 2008, based on data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). Alsopresented are comparisons of 2008 estimates with those for 2004, 2006, and 2007. DAWN is apublic health surveillance system that monitors drug-related ED visits for the Nation and forselected metropolitan areas. DAWN estimates pertain to the entire United States, including Alaska,Hawaii, and the District of Columbia. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health ServicesAdministration (SAMHSA) is the agency responsible for DAWN. SAMHSA is required to collectdata on drug-related ED visits under section 505 of the Public Health Service Act.DAWN relies on a sample of general, non-Federal hospitals operating 24-hour EDs. The sample isnational in scope, with oversampling of hospitals in selected metropolitan areas. In eachparticipating hospital, ED medical records are reviewed retrospectively to find the ED visits thatinvolved recent drug use. All types of drugs?illegal drugs, prescription and over-the-counterpharmaceuticals (e.g., dietary supplements, cough medicine), and substances inhaled for theirpsychoactive effects?are included. Alcohol is considered a reportable drug when consumed bypatients younger than 21. For patients aged 21 or older, though, alcohol is reported only when it isused in conjunction with other drugs.

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