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Drug Abuse Article

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Drug Abuse Article 
Introduction


This report presents the first information from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual survey of the civilian, institutionalized population of the United States aged 12 years old or older. Prior to 2002, the survey was called the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). This Overview report provides a concise summary of the main results of the 2004 NSDUH. A more complete presentation of the initial results and methodology of the survey is given in the full report, Results from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies [OAS], 2005). Both reports present national estimates of rates of use, numbers of users, and other measures related to illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco products. Measures related to mental health problems also are
included. State-level and substate-level estimates from NSDUH will be presented in separate reports.

A major focus of this report is changes in substance use between 2003 and 2004. Trends since 2002 also are discussed. Because of improvements to the survey in 2002, the 2002 data constitute a new baseline for tracking trends in substance use and other measures. Therefore estimates from the 2002, 2003, and 2004 NSDUHs should not be compared with estimates from the 2001 and earlier NSDUHs to assess changes in substance use and mental health problems over time. A discussion of long-term trends is included in the final chapter of this report.
1.1. Summary of NSDUH
NSDUH is the primary source of statistical information on the use of illegal drugs by the U.S. population. Conducted by the Federal Government since 1971, the survey collects data by administering questionnaires to a representative sample of the population through face-to-face interviews at their places of residence. The survey is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is planned and managed by SAMHSA's OAS. Data collection is conducted under contract with RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.1 NSDUH collects information from residents of households, noninstitutional group quarters (e.g., shelters, rooming houses, dormitories), and civilians living on military bases. The survey does not include homeless persons who do not use shelters, military personnel on active duty, and residents of institutional group quarters, such as jails and hospitals. Appendix E in the full report describes surveys that cover populations outside the NSDUH target population. Since 1999, the NSDUH interview has been carried out using computer-assisted interviewing (CAI). Most of the questions are administered with audio computer-assisted self interviewing (ACASI). ACASI is designed to provide the respondent with a highly private and confidential means of responding to questions to increase the level of honest reporting of illicit drug use and other sensitive behaviors. Less sensitive items are administered by interviewers using computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI). 1 RTI International is a trade name of Research Triangle Institute.