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Digest of Education Statistics: 2018
Digest of Education Statistics: 2018

NCES 2020-009
December 2019

Appendix A.4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Conducted by the federal government since 1971 (annually since 1991), the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is a survey of the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States age 12 or older. It is the primary source of information on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and abuse. The survey collects data by administering questionnaires to a representative sample of the population (since 1999, the NSDUH interview has been carried out using computer-assisted interviewing). NSDUH collects information from residents of households, noninstitutional group quarters, and civilians living on military bases. The main results of the NSDUH present national estimates of rates of use, numbers of users, and other measures related to illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco products.

Prior to 2002, the survey was called the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). The 2002 update of the survey’s name coincided with improvements to the survey. In light of these improvements, NSDUH data from 2002 and later should not be compared with NHSDA data from 2001 and earlier as a method of assessing changes in substance use over time.

The 2005 NSDUH was the first in a coordinated 5-year sample design providing estimates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the years 2005 through 2009. Because the 2005 design enables estimates to be developed by state, states may be viewed as the first level of stratification, as well as a reporting variable.

In the 2017 NSDUH, screening was completed at 138,061 addresses, and 68,032 completed interviews were obtained: 17,033 interviews from adolescents ages 12 to 17 and 50,999 interviews from adults age 18 and over. Weighted response rates for household screening and for interviewing were 75.1 and 67.1 percent, respectively, for an overall response rate of 50.4 percent for persons age 12 and over. The weighted interview response rates were 75.1 percent for adolescents and 66.3 percent for adults.

Further information on the NSDUH may be obtained from

Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857