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DAWN 2021 Preliminary Findings Released

June 24, 2022

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a preliminary report on 2021 findings from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). DAWN is a nationwide public health surveillance system that captures data on emergency department (ED) visits related to recent substance use and misuse directly from the electronic health records (EHRs) of participating hospitals.

For SAMHSA, Westat developed and operates the surveillance system. Tasks include sample design and maintenance, development of hospital recruitment procedures and materials, recruitment and onboarding of hospitals, establishment of a data collection operations center, weighting and estimation, and development of IT cloud-hosted processes in support of all project operations, data quality assurance, and dissemination.

Westat supported SAMHSA on the analysis and production of the preliminary report. In 2021, DAWN identified 141,529 (unweighted) drug-related ED visits from 52 participating hospitals. These data were analyzed to

  • Generate nationally representative weighted estimates for the top 5 drugs in drug-related ED visits
  • Assess monthly trends and drugs involved in polysubstance ED visits in a subset of sentinel hospitals
  • Identify drugs new to DAWN’s Drug Reference Vocabulary in 2021

Access the report from the SAMHSA website: 2021 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Releases | CBHSQ Data (

Learn more about DAWN: Drug Abuse Warning Network | CBHSQ Data (


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