National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
- use of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco and misuse of prescription drugs
- substance use disorder and substance use treatment major depressive episode and depression care
- serious psychological distress, mental illness, and mental health care
The data provide estimates of substance use and mental illness at the national, state, and substate levels. NSDUH data also help to identify the extent of substance use and mental illness among different subgroups, estimate trends over time, and determine the need for treatment services.
Where Do the Data Come From?
Starting 2014, NSDUH introduced an independent multistage area probability sample within each state and D.C. States are the first level of stratification, and each state was then stratified into approximately equally populated state sampling regions (SSRs). Census tracts within each SSR were then selected, followed by census block groups within census tracts and area segments (i.e., a collection of census blocks) within census block groups. Finally, dwelling units (DUs) were selected within segments, and within each selected DU, up to two residents who were at least 12 years old were selected for the interview. Professional interviewers conduct the face-to-face surveys, and the data are used to support prevention and treatment programs, monitor substance use trends, estimate the need for treatment, and inform public health policy.
NSDUH is representative of persons aged 12 and over in the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States, and in each state and the District of Columbia (D.C.). The survey covers residents of households (including those living in houses, townhouses, apartments, and condominiums), persons in noninstitutional group quarters (including those in shelters, boarding houses, college dormitories, migratory work camps, and halfway houses), and civilians living on military bases. Persons excluded from the survey include people experiencing homelessness who do not use shelters, active military personnel, and residents of institutional group quarters such as jails, nursing homes, mental institutions, and long-term care hospitals.
The Federal Government has conducted the survey since 1971. Over the years, the survey has undergone a series of changes. In 1999, the survey shifted from paper-and-pencil data collection to computer-assisted interviewing (CAI). With CAI, staff administer most questions with audio computer-assisted self-interviewing. This provides a confidential way to answer questions and encourages honest responses.
In 1999, the sample design expanded to include all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In 2002, the name of the survey changed from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse to NSDUH. The survey also began including a $30 incentive for respondents. The most recent updates are changes in the sampling design (2014) and the questionnaire (2015). More information about the questionnaire changes can be found here. (PDF | 572 KB)
Latest Survey Resources
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Need Data Files for Research?
Data files are made available by SAMHSA for research and statistical purposes. Available files may include: Codebooks and Delimited, R, SAS, SPSS, or STATA data sets. Read more.