U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2006: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits

NCJ Number
Judy K. Ball Ph.D., M.P.A.; Victoria Albright M.A.
Date Published
August 2008
100 pages

This report presents national estimates of drug-related emergency department (ED) visits from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) for 2006, with comparison of estimates for 2004 and 2005.


Highlights of the report include: (1) in 2006, hospitals in the United States delivered a total of 113 million ED visits, and the DAWN estimated that 1,742,887 ED visits were associated with drug misuse or abuse; (2) DAWN estimated that 598,164 ED visits involved an illicit drug; thus over half (55 percent) of all the drug misuse/abuse ED visits during 2006 involved an illicit drug either alone or in combination with other types of drugs; (3) 741,425 ED visits were estimated to involve nonmedical use of prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceuticals or dietary supplements, with the majority involving multiple drugs; (4) the 113 million ED visits in the United States reflected an increase of 3.9 percent over 2004; and (5) 182,805 ED visits were estimated for drug-related suicide attempts in 2006. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) is a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related ED visits for the United States and for selected metropolitan areas. DAWN relies on a national sample of general, non-Federal hospitals operating 24-hour EDs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency responsible for DAWN. ED medical records are reviewed retrospectively to find the ED visits that were related to recent drug use. All types of drugs, illegal drugs, prescription and OTC pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, and non-pharmaceutical inhalants, are included. The 2006 estimates reported in this report introduce several improvements made to the DAWN sampling and estimation methodology. This report presents estimates of drug-related visits to EDs for 2006, based on data from DAWN. Also presented were comparisons of 2006 estimates with those for 2004 and 2005. Tables, figures and appendixes A-D