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Drug Abuse Warning Network

  • By: Kevin Sabet & Jonathan Caulkins
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) was created in 1972 to monitor hospital emergency department cases (“episodes”) that were induced by or related to recent illegal drug use in the United States. DAWN is operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DAWN data are among the longest-running time series that are available for more than a single city or state, and DAWN offers substance-specific counts for both illegal drugs and nonmedical use of legal drugs. Substantial redesigns (notably in 1988 and 2003) complicate trend analysis, but properly adjusted, the time series nonetheless offer a poignant perspective on changing patterns of drug use. Cocaine mentions exploded from 3,438 in 1978 to 91,791 a decade later ...

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