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National Healthcare Disparities Report, 2005

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National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Office of Applied Studies.

Mode of Administration

Computer-assisted personal interviews and audio computer-assisted self-interviews.

Survey Sample Design

NSDUH uses a multistage area probability sample for each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia. The sample is stratified on multiple levels, beginning with States. Eight States are considered large sample States and contribute approximately 3,600 respondents per State. The remaining States are sampled to yield 900 respondents per State. The second level of stratification divides States into Field Interviewer regions. The third level of stratification divides the Field Interviewer regions into area segments of adjacent census blocks, which are used as the primary sampling units.


The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), formerly called the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), reports on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of drug and alcohol use and abuse in the general U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population age 12 and over. Data are collected on the use of illicit drugs, the nonmedical use of legal drugs, and use of alcohol and tobacco products. The survey is conducted annually and is designed to produce drug and alcohol use incidence and prevalence estimates. Data are also collected periodically on special topics of interest, such as serious psychological distress, criminal behavior, treatment, mental health issues, and attitudes about drugs.

Primary Survey Content

Patient demographics, age at first use, lifetime, annual, and past-month usage for the following drug classes: marijuana, cocaine/crack, hallucinogens, heroin, inhalants, alcohol, tobacco, and nonmedical use of prescription drugs.

Population Targeted

U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population age 12 and over.

Demographic Data

Age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, educational level, employment status, veteran status, current household composition.

Years Collected

Since 1979.



Geographic Estimates

National and States.


Prior to 2002, this survey was known as National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse. Administration and methods for this series changed in 2002; therefore, the data from 2002 and later may not be comparable with data collected in earlier years.

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