1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse:  Preliminary Results

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III. Surveys of Populations Not Covered by the NHSDA

Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS)

In 1998, the Partnership for a Drug Free America (PDFA) released the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), the only on-going national research that tracks drug use and drug related attitudes among children ages 9 to 11 as well as older teens. The study documented a gap between parents’ perceptions about their children and drugs and what teenagers and children are actually experiencing (PDFA, 1998).

Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Drug Study (DC*MADS)

The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Drug Study (DC*MADS) was designed to (1) estimate the prevalence, correlates, and consequences of drug abuse among all types of people residing in one metropolitan area of the country during one period of time and (2) to develop a methodological model for similar types of research in other metropolitan areas of the country. Sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and conducted in 1991 and 1992, the project focused on hard-to-reach populations, such as adult and juvenile offenders, new mothers, and school dropouts. DC*MADS provided a replicable methodological approach for developing representative estimates of the prevalence of drug abuse among all population subgroups, regardless of their residential setting, in a metropolitan area. The key domains in DC*MADS were the homeless, the institutionalized, and the household. A major finding of DC*MADS was that, when data are aggregated for populations from each of the three domains, the overall prevalence estimates for use of drugs differ only marginally from those that would be obtained from the household population alone (i.e., from the NHSDA). However, for some categories of drug users, the nonhousehold population was found to include a substantial proportion of users. About 20 percent of past month crack users, 20 percent of past year heroin users, and one-third of past year needle users were found in the nonhousehold population (NIDA 1992; NIDA 1993; NIDA 1994a; NIDA 1994b).

Worldwide Survey of Substance Abuse and Health Behaviors Among Military Personnel

The 1992 Worldwide Survey of Substance Abuse and Health Behaviors Among Military Personnel was sponsored by the Department of Defense and conducted by Research Triangle Institute. The survey interviewed 25,000 Armed Forces personnel worldwide. Military personnel exhibited lower rates of illicit drug use than the civilian population after controlling for sociodemographic composition of the two populations, but higher rates of cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol drinking (Research Triangle Institute 1992).

Survey of Inmates of Local Jails and Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities

The Survey of Inmates of Local Jails (1996) is a nationally representative survey of 6,133 inmates in 431 jails, conducted for the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). BJS also sponsors in-depth interviews with a nationally representative sample of 14,000 state prisoners in 277 facilities in 45 states called the Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities. Among other items, these surveys collect information on the use of drugs in the month before the offense forconvicted inmates. The survey results indicate substantially higher rates of use among convicted inmates (BJS 1998; BJS 1993) than in the household population.

Uniform Crime Reporting System

The FBI maintains estimates of arrests for drug abuse violations from 1970 through 1996. Arrests for drug abuse violations are at their highest levels ever for adults and juveniles. The number of arrests for drug abuse violations has risen 52.4 percent for adults (from 850,000 in 1986 to 1,295,000 in 1996) and 141 percent for juveniles (from 88,000 in 1985 to 211,000 in 1996) (FBI, 1998).

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This page was last updated on February 05, 2009.