About the Survey
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is a nationwide study that provides up-to-date information on tobacco, alcohol, and drug use, mental health and other health-related issues in the United States.
Each year, NSDUH interviews approximately 70,000 people age 12 and older for this important study. The study results are released each September, and are used to inform public health programs and policies.
NSDUH is authorized by Section 505 of the Public Health Service Act, which requires annual surveys to collect data on the level and patterns of substance use.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), sponsors NSDUH. SAMHSA's Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ), oversees all aspects of the study including data collection, analysis and reporting.
NSDUH data provide the drug prevention, treatment, and research communities with current, relevant information on the status of the nation's drug usage.
To assess and monitor drug and alcohol use, NSDUH strives to:
- Provide accurate data on the level and patterns of alcohol, tobacco and substance use and misuse
- Track trends in the use of alcohol, tobacco, and various types of drugs
- Assess the consequences of substance use and misuse
- Identify those groups at high risk for substance use and misuse
Many government agencies, private organizations, individual researchers, and the public at large use NSDUH data.
For instance, many state health agencies use NSDUH data to estimate the need for treatment facilities. Other federal, state, and local agencies, such as the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Department of Justice, use the information to support prevention programs and monitor drug control strategies.
Read more about who uses the NSDUH data.
NSDUH is conducted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For the study, household addresses are randomly selected through scientific methods. Once a household has been selected, no other household can take its place.
A professional RTI interviewer visits each selected address to ask a few general questions. Then the interviewer may ask one or two residents to complete the full interview. It is possible no one will be chosen to be interviewed.
Participation in the study is voluntary. However, once an individual is selected, nobody else can take their place. After completing the interview, the participant will receive $30 in cash.
Selected participants complete the interview in the privacy of their own home. An RTI interviewer brings a laptop computer to conduct the interview personally with each selected person. Prior computer experience is not necessary to participate.
Participants answer most of the questions in private and enter their responses directly into the computer so even the interviewer does not know the answer entered. For some items, the interviewer reads the question aloud and enters the participant’s response into the computer.
The interview takes about an hour to complete. Each person who completes the full interview receives $30 as a token of our appreciation.
Both SAMHSA and RTI International are committed to assuring the complete confidentiality of all responses. All information collected for this study is confidential and used only for statistical purposes, as required by federal law – the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA).