Evaluation of Recent and Emerging Trends in Drug Abuse

The abuse of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, both prescription and illicit, are costly to the nation.  Various sources estimate that nearly $700 billion dollars annually are spent in costs related to crime, lost productivity and healthcare.  This data is summarized in the table below:

Healthcare Overall
Tobacco $130 Billion $295 Billion
Alcohol $25 Billion $224 Billion
Illicit Drugs $11 Billion $193 Billion
Total $166 Billion $712 Billion


There are a variety of sources which can be used to monitor recent and emerging trends regarding drug use in the United States.  While no one source is totally complete, the resources listed below provide important and informative data on a variety of drug related issues and from a variety of different sources including emergency room data, prevention and treatment programs and various research forums.

Monitoring the Future Survey  (

Since 1975, this survey (MTF) has been assessing drug, alcohol and tobacco use and related attitudes among adolescent students nationwide on a yearly basis.  The results of the survey are released in the fall of each year.

National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health  (

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is the primary source of information on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and abuse and mental disorders in the U.S. civilian, non-institutionalized population, age 12 and older. The survey generates estimates at the national, state, and sub-state levels.

CDC Wonder (

CDC WONDER is the online public information health system created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It provides a single point of access to a wide variety of CDC reports, guidelines, and numeric public health data.

The Drug Abuse Warning Network (

The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) is a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related hospital emergency department visits in order to report on the impact of drug use, misuse, and abuse in metropolitan areas and across the nation.

American Association of Poison Control Centers (

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) supports the nation’s 55 poison centers in their efforts to prevent and treat poison exposures.  Through communications with these various poison centers, the AAPCC has been instrumental in tracing the emergence of designer drugs over the last 5 years.

Please join us over the course of the next few weeks as we begin look at emerging trends in drug abuse  as described in these resources.