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National Survey on Drug Use and Health


The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) collects data on substance use, abuse, and dependence; mental health problems; and the receipt of substance abuse and mental health treatment.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Data Years Available: 
Periodically since 1971; annually since 1990.
Annual since 1990
Mode of Collection: 
In-person interviews with a sample of persons conducted at their place of residence. The survey uses a combination of computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI), conducted by an interviewer to obtain basic demographic information, and audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI) for most of the questions.
Selected Content: 
Use of illicit drugs, the nonmedical use of prescription psychotherapeutic drugs, and use of alcohol and tobacco products; dependence and abuse involving drugs and alcohol; mental health problems; and treatment of substance abuse and mental health problems.
Population Covered: 
U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population aged 12 years and older.

A 50-state sample design is used. Eight states are designated as large sample states with target sample sizes of 3,600 per year. The remaining states and the District of Columbia have target sample sizes of 900 per year. In 2005, NSDUH introduced a coordinated 5-year sample design in which the first stage of selection involved census tracts, with sample segments within a single census tract to the extent possible. States were stratified into 900 state sampling regions (SS), which were contiguous geographic areas designed to yield the same number of interviews on average. In the 2005-2009 surveys, 48 census tracts per SS region were selected. Segment areas were formed within the census tracts by combining adjacent census blocks. One segment was selected within each sampled census tract. In the 2005 survey year, 8 sample segments per SS region were fielded. The sampled segments were allocated equally into four separate samples, one for each calendar quarter. The design also oversampled youths and young adults so that each state's sample was equally distributed among three major age groups: 12-17 years, 18-25 years, and 26 years and over.

Response Rates and Sample Size: 

In the 2007 survey, of the 158,411 eligible households sampled, 141,487 addresses were screened and in these screened households, a total of 85,774 sample persons were selected. From these, 67,870 completed interviews were obtained. Weighted response rates were 90% for household screening and 74% for interviewing.

Interpretation Issues: 

National Center for Health Statistics. Health United States 2009: With Special Feature on Medical Technology. Hyattsville, Maryland. 2010; pp 474-475.