The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) and the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) created the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) in 2016 when authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act. DAWN is a nationwide public surveillance system that collects data from Emergency Department (ED) visits resulting from substance use and overdoses. DAWN has worked since 2018 to improve ED monitoring of substance use-related visits, including those related to opioids. Data is collected from electronic health records (EHR) of participating hospitals. The intention of the data collected is to help SAMHSA, public health professionals, clinicians, and policy makers understand the landscape opioid and substance use in the United States.
DAWN’s key objectives include:
- Monitoring demographic and geographic trends related to ED-related substance use.
- Identifying emerging trends related to psychoactive substances and/or combination substances.
- Providing national estimates of substance-related ED visits to key stakeholder’s and the public.
A new report was just released titled, “Preliminary Findings from Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits”. This report identified 141,529 drug-related emergency department (ED) visits from 52 participating hospitals. The data was analyzed to (1) generate nationally representative weighted estimates for the top five drugs in drug-related ED visits, (2) assess monthly trends and drugs involved in polysubstance ED visits in a subset of sentinel hospitals, and (3) identify drugs new to DAWN’s Drug Reference Vocabulary (DRV) in 2021.