When DAWN went dark: Can the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) fill the surveillance gap left by the discontinued Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN)?

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:This study assessed whether the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) could reliably fill the national drug surveillance gap caused by the discontinuation of the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). METHODS:Estimates of the drug-related emergency department (ED) visits derived from DAWN (2004-2011) and NEDS (2006-2013). Estimates of the underlying reason for the drug-related ED visit, patient characteristics, and the specific drugs involved were compared for 2011, the most recent overlapping data year in DAWN and NEDS. Trends in ED visits for major drugs of abuse were then compared over the period 2004-2013. RESULTS:In 2011, DAWN and NEDS produced statistically similar estimates of the overall number of drug-related ED visits (5.1 vs. 4.9 million) and those involving drug misuse or abuse (2.65 vs. 2.77 million). Among the latter, estimates by gender, age group, and patient disposition were generally consistent across data systems, suggesting that NEDS and DAWN samples draw from a similar population. Main analyses reveal statistically similar estimates across data systems in both levels and trends for cocaine, amphetamines, and narcotic pain relievers. In contrast, the number of ED visits for sedatives and heroin was significantly undercounted in NEDS, whereas marijuana-related ED visits were undercounted in DAWN. CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrates the utility of NEDS for conducting post-DAWN drug surveillance. Because NEDS cannot provide targeted surveillance of certain established (e.g., heroin) and emerging (e.g., fentanyl) drugs, however, it is critical that a data system that employs medical record-based reviews be implemented to augment the known weaknesses of NEDS.

journal_name

Drug Alcohol Depend

authors

Sevigny EL,Caces MF

doi

10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.07.043

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2018-11-01 00:00:00

pages

201-207

eissn

0376-8716

issn

1879-0046

pii

S0376-8716(18)30562-3

journal_volume

192

pub_type

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