JUNE 2003

Trends in Drug-Related Emergency
Department Visits, 1994-2001 At a Glance
This issue of The DAWN Report provides a handy
reference to the most recent trends in emergency
department (ED) visits related to drug abuse. The tables
inside present 8-year trends from 1994 to 2001 for
selected individual drugs and drug categories. Included
are the drugs reported most frequently in ED visits
related to drug abuse and less frequently reported drugs
of interest because of their potential for abuse.

In Brief

In 2001, there were over 638,000 ED visits related to
drug abuse in the coterminous U.S. This translates
to 252 visits per 100,000 population or 0.6 percent
of all ED visits.

Seven categories of drugs accounted for 85 percent of
ED drug mentions in 2001. The ED visits related to
drug abuse most frequently involved alcohol (34% of
mentions), cocaine (30%), marijuana (17%), benzodiazepines (16%), narcotic analgesics/combinations
(16%), heroin (15%), other analgesics/combinations
(12%), and antidepressants (10%).

From 2000 to 2001, there were significant increases in
ED mentions of marijuana (15%, from 96,426 to
110,512) and cocaine (10%, from 174,881 to
193,034). Mentions of most other major substances
of abuse were unchanged from 2000 to 2001.

ED mentions of benzodiazepines increased 14
percent from 2000 to 2001 (from 91,078 to 103,972),
as did the top 2 benzodiazepines, alprazolam (up
16%) and benzodiazepines-NOS (up 35%). The
latter includes benzodiazepines not identified
by name.

ED mentions of narcotic analgesics/combinations
rose 21 percent (from 82,373 to 99,317) from 2000
to 2001.

Narcotic analgesics not identified by name were
mentioned most frequently (narcotic analgesicsNOS, 32,196 mentions, up 24% from 2000 to
2001), followed by those containing hydrocodone
(21,567), oxycodone (18,409, up 70%), and
methadone (10,725, up 37%). Narcotic analgesics/
combinations containing propoxyphene (5,361),
codeine (3,720, down 30%), and morphine
(3,403) were much less frequent and not
increasing.

In each table, the 3 columns on the right show percent
changes between the years noted for differences that
were statistically significant (p < 0.05). Estimates in this
publication pertain to the continental U.S. (48 States).
The major illicit drugs are classified as Major
Substances of Abuse (see page 2), along with nonpharmaceutical inhalants and alcohol, which are
reported to DAWN only when present in combination
with another reportable drug.
Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications
and dietary supplements are classified as Other
Substances of Abuse (pages 2-3). Selected Psychotherapeutic Agents (pages 4-5) and Analgesics (pain
relievers, page 6) are summarized in separate tables
because of their frequency.
Prescription and OTC drugs are classified by therapeutic
category,1 regardless of the effect of the drug when
abused. All drugs are classified by generic, not brand
names. An index that maps brand to generic names is
provided with ED publications on the DAWN website.
For all drugs, the unit of measurement is the “drug
mention.” A “mention” is an instance of a drug being
reported (“mentioned”) in an ED visit related to drug
abuse. As many as 4 drugs plus alcohol can be
mentioned for a single ED visit.
1

This classification of drugs is derived from the Multum Lexicon, Copyright
©2002, Multum Information Services, Inc. The Multum Licensing Agreement
governing use of the Lexicon can be found on the Internet at www.multum.com
and is reproduced in many DAWN publications.

2

ED mentions for drug categories and selected drugs, total ED visits related to drug abuse,
total drug mentions, and total ED visits: 1994-2001
Total
2001

% change
1999,
2001

Total
1998

TOTAL DRUG ABUSE ED VISITS ............... 518,880
TOTAL DRUG ABUSE MENTIONS ......... 899,600
TOTAL ED VISITS (in 1,000s) ..................... 89,697

513,519
900,287
88,548

513,933
906,366
91,189

526,818
942,382
89,720

542,432
981,764
89,683

554,767
1,014,243
91,100

601,563
1,099,306
96,163

638,484
1,165,367
100,518

23.1
29.5
12.1

15.1
14.9
10.3

MAJOR SUBSTANCES OF ABUSE ............ 449,964
Alcohol-in-combination............................. 160,798
Cocaine..................................................... 143,337
Heroin ....................................................... 63,158
Marijuana.................................................. 40,034
Amphetamines.......................................... 10,118
Methamphetamine.................................... 17,537
MDMA (Ecstasy).......................................
253
Ketamine...................................................
19
LSD...........................................................
5,158
PCP. ..........................................................
5,899
Miscellaneous hallucinogens ....................
1,577
Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)..........................
13
GHB ..........................................................
56
Inhalants ...................................................
1,511
Combinations NTA....................................
495

458,083
166,907
135,711
69,556
45,259
9,581
15,933
421

5,682
5,963
1,463

145
1,036
163

478,676
166,172
152,420
72,980
53,770
9,772
11,002
319
81
4,569
3,441
1,600

638
1,313
383

511,038
171,963
161,083
70,712
64,720
10,496
17,154
637

5,219
3,626
1,629

762
2,225
201

549,060
184,991
172,011
75,688
76,842
12,183
11,486
1,143
209
4,982
3,436
1,849

1,282
2,211
125

575,718
196,222
168,751
82,192
87,068
12,496
10,447
2,850
396
5,126
3,663
1,533

3,178
1,162
94

624,390
204,510
174,881
94,804
96,426
17,134
13,505
4,511
263
4,016
5,404
1,849

4,969
1,522
127

669,559
218,005
193,034
93,064
110,512
18,555
14,923
5,542
679
2,821
6,102
1,788

3,340
676
298

48.8
35.6
34.7
47.4
176.0
83.4

16.3

OTHER SUBSTANCES OF ABUSE ............. 449,636

442,204

427,691

431,344

432,704

438,525

474,916

495,808

PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC AGENTS .......... 190,467
Antidepressants
Antipsychotics
Anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics
CNS stimulants

190,270

193,219

191,512

193,095

196,299

204,527

220,289

15.7

166,219

170,602

174,120

171,208

203,572

210,685

27.2

23.1

2,655
1,312
1,065
11,496
3,743
4,099

2,923
0
598

2,349
770
524
12,193
3,473
5,155
296
2,426
0
618

1,552
545
398
13,990
3,221
6,228
1,002
2,974

263

1,436
647
425
14,938
3,113
5,984
2,395
2,766

357

1,540
725
754
16,849
2,276
6,235
4,465
2,239
540
916

953
129
596
14,642
1,827
5,365
3,461
1,795
621

-59.5
-91.3

-80.1

2,090.5
3,473.7
-45.3

14.4

2

% change
2000,
2001
6.1
6.0
4.5

10.4
14.6

48.5
94.5
-45.0
66.6

5,864.3
-55.3

-55.6

7.7

168,222

56.5
-52.9
204.5

-45.0

-82.2

JUNE 2003

13.1

See pages 4-5

See page 6
2,489
1,366
774
10,455
3,633
2,550
20
3,573
0
449

2

T H E DA W N R E P O RT

Total
1997

CNS AGENTS .......................................... 165,657
Analgesics
Anorexiants ........................................
2,354
phenylpropanolamine ........................
1,487
anorexiants-NOS ...............................
677
Anticonvulsants .................................
9,358
carbamazepine ..................................
3,879
divalproex sodium .............................
1,762
gabapentin ........................................

phenytoin ..........................................
3,266
topiramate.........................................
0
valproic acid ......................................
279

Total
2000

2

Total
1996

1

Total
1999

% change
1994,
2001

Total
1995

Drug category and selected drugs

Total
1994

Total
1997

Total
1998

Total
1999

Total
2000

Total
2001

CNS AGENTS (continued)
Antiemetic/antivertigo agents..........
Antiparkinson agents ........................
benztropine .......................................
General anesthetics ...........................
Muscle relaxants ................................
carisoprodol ......................................
chlorzoxazone ...................................
cyclobenzaprine ................................
metaxalone .......................................
methocarbamol .................................
tizanidine...........................................
Miscellaneous CNS agents................

1,263
3,519
2,790
2
12,223
6,569
535
3,133
17
1,127
0
0

849
3,463
2,787
2
13,733
7,771
338
2,924

1,053
0
0

865
3,039
2,363

13,520
7,279
512
3,599
235
682
0
0

786
2,564
2,055
6
12,318
6,133

3,626
266
1,054
0
1

1,134
1,895
1,713
10
13,612
8,454
27
2,967
246
977
0
0

1,003
1,264
1,036

13,717
8,829

2,761
359
719

1,139
755
658

15,914
9,520

3,975
527
689
358

526
985
735
10
19,001
11,239
23
4,191
909
597
350

RESPIRATORY AGENTS .........................
Antihistamines ...................................
Bronchodilators..................................
Decongestants ...................................
Expectorants ......................................
Upper respiratory combinations ......
Respiratory agents NTA ....................

15,747
3,021
2,805
2,198
456
6,849
419

13,915
2,739
2,063
2,000
402
6,232
478

12,856
2,222
1,354
1,629
634
6,742
275

11,593
2,770
1,084
1,797
658
5,111
173

11,258
2,470
843
1,554
1,016
5,064

8,749
3,047
955
609
544
3,398
195

11,521
3,265
419
1,049
775
5,676
337

12,238
4,112
422
859
476
5,697
672

CARDIOVASCULAR AGENTS ................ 12,939
Antiadrenergic agents, centrally acting 1,259
clonidine ...........................................
1,108
Beta-adrenergic blocking agents .....
2,827
atenolol .............................................
825
propranolol........................................
1,424
Calcium channel blocking agents ....
2,658
Diuretics ..............................................
1,105
Cardiovascular agents NTA...............
5,090
ephedrine ..........................................
1,992

12,016
1,291
1,202
2,598
394
1,639
3,095
1,209
3,823
1,265

10,242
1,412
1,200
2,339
931
1,232
1,931
1,035
3,525
1,366

8,423
1,603
1,360
2,250
702
968
1,511
878
2,182
481

8,473
1,003
859
2,255
594
1,011
1,406
668
3,141
726

9,548
1,401
1,377
2,334
830
925
1,330
787
3,696
692

9,348
1,156
1,093
1,956
858
737
1,525
1,049
3,662
749

9,984
1,852
1,781
2,382
1,238
521
1,386
821
3,543
728

OTHER SUBSTANCES.............................
Drug unknown..........................................

57,781
27,412

45,156
20,271

49,214
26,221

45,758
23,704

52,721
32,804

45,948
25,698

42,611
23,923

Drug category and selected drugs

1
2

1

64,825
34,167

% change
1994,
2001
-58.4
-72.0
-73.7
400.0
55.5
71.1
-95.7

2

% change
1999,
2001

38.5

2

% change
2000,
2001

2

19.4

51.8
5,247.1
-47.0

-22.3

39.9

-85.0
-60.9
67.7
244.6

60.2
62.9

-63.4
-47.9

JUNE 2003

Total
1996

Total
1995

T H E DA W N R E P O RT

Total
1994

-30.4
-63.5
-34.3
-30.0

This classification of drugs is derived from the Multum Lexicon, Copyright © 2002, Multum Information Services, Inc. The classification has been modified to meet DAWN’s unique requirements
(2002). The Multum Licensing Agreement governing use of the Lexicon is provided in an appendix to other DAWN publications and can be found on the Internet at www.multum.com.
This column denotes statistically significant (p < 0.05) increases and decreases between estimates for the periods noted.

NOTE: These estimates are based on a representative sample of non-Federal, short-stay hospitals with 24-hour EDs in the coterminous U.S. Dots (…) indicate that an estimate with a relative standard
error greater than 50 percent has been suppressed. For the Atlanta contribution to the national estimates, data for January-June 2001 were imputed for Atlanta nonrespondents based on actual data
from January-June 2000. These estimates have been published already in ED Trends From DAWN and in the Detailed ED Tables, 2001, which are available online at http://DAWNinfo.samhsa.gov.
CNS = central nervous system, ED = emergency department, GHB = gamma hydroxy butyrate, LSD = lysergic acid diethylamide, MAO = monoamine oxidase,
MDMA = methylenedioxymethamphetamine, NOS = not otherwise specified, NTA = not tabulated above, PCP = phencyclidine, SSRI = selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

3

SOURCE: Office of Applied Studies, SAMHSA, Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2001 (03/2002 update).

4

Psychotherapeutic agents: ED mentions for drug categories and selected drugs: 1994-2001

Drug category and selected drugs

1

Total
1994

Total
1998

Total
1999

Total
2000

Total
2001

190,270
53,764
303
21,585
0
9,506
271
5,656
6,150
19,429
8,897
735
2,726
2,483
2,350
1,819
12,447
1,249
0
234
9,455
1,235
144

193,219
55,886

23,651
0
9,598
591
5,990
7,472
18,962
8,874
755
2,402
1,838
2,244
2,224
13,155
964
0
1,103
9,210
1,606
268

191,512
54,138
291
24,317
0
10,502
638
7,180
5,997
16,223
8,445
401
2,091
1,383
1,301
2,326
13,307
1,529

673
8,733
1,632
729

193,095
54,382
28
24,768
0
9,813
421
7,646
6,887
13,130
6,710
238
1,537
718
1,275
2,427
16,455
2,681
606
1,552
9,674
1,629
261

196,299
58,964
14
24,882
1,563
9,381
471
7,256
6,210
13,526
5,716
219
1,552
748
888
4,259
20,542
3,859
1,420
1,800
9,853
3,209
343

204,527
60,576

26,715
3,458
7,939
629
8,020
6,670
11,838
6,444

1,123
563
663
2,623
21,953
3,809
2,416
1,608
9,798
3,722
599

220,289
61,012

26,972
4,474
6,362
227
8,923
6,932
12,447
4,673
236
772
390
658
5,515
21,459
4,145
1,898
1,494
9,347
3,994
581

21,902
9,125
2,202
792
1,896
555
2,566
736
522
1,176
11,079
214
2,718
6,707
0
0
1,024

18,947
7,743
2,154
884
1,452
307
2,243
397
369
531
10,304
184
3,311
4,678
0
0
1,848

16,983
5,332
1,198
501
764
284
1,725
454
283
828
10,540
63
2,306
4,864
1,449
0
1,616

16,270
4,310
870
424
813
400
1,227
370

299
11,402

2,130
3,480
2,759
484
2,154

15,223
2,088
567
207

272
478
119


12,771

1,183
3,867
3,285
896
3,352

20,097
2,107
613
89
168
311
782
49


17,661
191
1,167
3,720
5,454
3,009
3,899

20,182
1,359
636
47

207
201



18,542
214
1,016
3,410
5,217
4,346
4,046

% change
1994,
2001

2

% change
1999,
2001

15.7

2

% change
2000,
2001

2

7.7


32.2
-30.2

186.2
-32.2

128.0
-49.5
-58.5
-81.0
-81.9
-85.9
-75.7
323.9
138.1
447.6

-27.5
-50.3

110.3

1,071.3

-19.3
-88.6
-75.6
-96.8

-93.7



73.0

32.6
-34.9

-74.3

45.2

-66.3
-42.8
58.8
385.0
588.1

JUNE 2003

25,012
11,899
2,607
1,475
2,212
302
3,189
1,391
617
1,781
10,715
418
3,014
5,964
0
0
588

Total
1997

Antipsychotics .......................................
Phenothiazine antipsychotics...........
chlorpromazine .................................
fluphenazine......................................
perphenazine.....................................
prochlorperazine ...............................
thioridazine .......................................
trifluoperazine ...................................
Psychotherapeutic combinations.....
Thioxanthenes ....................................
Miscellaneous antipsychotic agents
clozapine ...........................................
haloperidol ........................................
lithium ...............................................
olanzapine .........................................
quetiapine .........................................
risperidone ........................................

Total
1996

T H E DA W N R E P O RT

PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC AGENTS .............. 190,467
Antidepressants ..................................... 54,442
MAO inhibitors ...................................
405
SSRI antidepressants ......................... 20,402
citalopram .........................................
0
fluoxetine ..........................................
9,110
fluvoxamine ......................................
0
paroxetine .........................................
3,914
sertraline ...........................................
7,377
Tricyclic antidepressants .................. 24,625
amitriptyline ...................................... 11,266
desipramine ......................................
1,240
doxepin .............................................
4,272
imipramine ........................................
2,757
nortriptyline.......................................
2,707
tricyclic antidepressants-NOS ...........
1,301
Miscellaneous antidepressants ........
9,011
bupropion .........................................
757
mirtazapine .......................................
0
nefazodone .......................................
0
trazodone ..........................................
7,285
venlafaxine ........................................
341
antidepressants-NOS ........................
516

Total
1995

Drug category and selected drugs

1

Total
1994

2

Total
1998

Total
1999

Total
2000

Total
2001

108,881
6,793
2,897
3,610
76,548
17,082
2,661
12,802
1,047
14,249
1,407
11,256
342
2,888
776
11,587

112,847
7,129
2,338
4,220
78,640
16,655
2,074
13,375
1,342
13,601
1,498
10,035
697
2,699
727
15,363

114,228
7,039
1,832
4,927
82,621
17,468
1,155
14,597
959
13,366
729
10,818
395
2,731
322
19,979

118,352
8,760
2,546
6,031
88,808
17,833
1,516
17,450
1,011
12,758
884
10,472
670
3,104
537
22,507

118,467
7,777
1,601
5,753
90,539
20,484
1,184
16,584
374
11,406
538
10,692
317
2,694
560
25,520

120,519
7,102
1,798
4,848
91,078
22,105
1,384
18,005
383
12,090
463
10,671
307
2,742
363
22,376

135,949
9,506
1,117
7,209
103,972
25,644
953
19,117
574
11,447
603
11,902
452
2,637
235
30,302

25,541
1,682
381
11,953
1,933
2,680
4,037

27,078
1,316
475
13,008
2,034
2,776
5,250

24,569
1,510
152
11,122
1,269
2,168
5,624

20,784
1,190
45
8,058
1,435
1,713
5,637

20,151
2,086

6,771
1,230
2,525
5,267

22,339
2,299
37
7,440
1,433
1,921
6,810

22,472
1,280

7,670
1,310
1,458
8,289

-53.7
487.9

2,153

1,917

2,433

2,326

1,587

2,086

1,685

-40.0

5,723
3,562
1,860

5,539
3,116
1,904

6,162
3,146
2,474

4,091
2,120
1,728

3,645
2,070
1,478

3,336
1,674
1,487

3,146
1,834
1,279

-31.5
-42.3

27.7
61.5
-54.9
152.8
39.3
49.4
-62.8
57.1

2

% change
1999,
2001
14.8

14.8
25.2

2

% change
2000,
2001

2

12.8
33.8
48.7
14.2
16.0

-59.7

-76.3
231.6

35.4

-38.6

-44.3


-45.0

57.4

JUNE 2003

1

4,592
3,176
1,190

Total
1997

CNS stimulants .......................................
caffeine .............................................
methylphenidate................................

Total
1996

T H E DA W N R E P O RT

Anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics . 106,421
Barbiturates ........................................
5,887
phenobarbital ....................................
2,479
barbiturates-NOS ..............................
2,852
Benzodiazepines ................................ 74,637
alprazolam......................................... 17,168
chlordiazepoxide ...............................
2,563
clonazepam ....................................... 12,165
clorazepate........................................
725
diazepam........................................... 13,560
flurazepam ........................................
1,497
lorazepam ......................................... 12,226
oxazepam..........................................
475
temazepam .......................................
3,739
triazolam ...........................................
991
benzodiazepines-NOS .......................
9,139
Misc. anxiolytics, sedatives,
and hypnotics ............................. 25,898
buspirone ..........................................
1,358
chloral hydrate ..................................
477
diphenhydramine............................... 13,958
doxylamine........................................
2,024
hydroxyzine.......................................
3,150
zolpidem............................................
1,410
anxiolytics, sedatives and
hypnotics-NOS ..............................
2,808

% change
1994,
2001

Total
1995

This classification of drugs is derived from the Multum Lexicon, Copyright © 2002, Multum Information Services, Inc. The classification has been modified to meet DAWN’s unique requirements
(2002). The Multum Licensing Agreement governing use of the Lexicon is provided in an appendix to other DAWN publications and can be found on the Internet at www.multum.com.
This column denotes statistically significant (p < 0.05) increases and decreases between estimates for the periods noted.

NOTE: These estimates are based on a representative sample of non-Federal, short-stay hospitals with 24-hour EDs in the coterminous U.S. Dots (…) indicate that an estimate with a relative standard
error greater than 50 percent has been suppressed. For the Atlanta contribution to the national estimates, data for January-June 2001 were imputed for Atlanta nonrespondents based on actual data
from January-June 2000. These estimates have been published already in ED Trends From DAWN and in the Detailed ED Tables, 2001, which are available online at http://DAWNinfo.samhsa.gov.
CNS = central nervous system, ED = emergency department, GHB = gamma hydroxy butyrate, LSD = lysergic acid diethylamide, MAO = monoamine oxidase,
MDMA = methylenedioxymethamphetamine, NOS = not otherwise specified, NTA = not tabulated above, PCP = phencyclidine, SSRI = selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
SOURCE: Office of Applied Studies, SAMHSA, Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2001 (03/2002 update).

5

6

Analgesics: ED mentions for drug categories and selected drugs: 1994-2001

Drug category and selected drugs

1

Total
1994

Total
1998

Total
1999

Total
2000

Total
2001

137,231
844
0
45,254
8,732

22
9,686
569
1,045
4,247
1,283

3,393
153
0
6,294
9,562

134,638
603
0
46,941
7,594
3
34
11,419
609
876
4,129
864
30
3,190
196
0
5,889
11,855

140,385
798
0
54,116
7,869
2
203
11,570
604
864
3,832
1,300
49
5,012
202

6,502
15,893

141,929
507
0
58,946
6,620

286
13,611
937
730
4,810
1,955
24
5,211
329
1
5,826
18,495

138,736
671

69,011
4,974

337
15,252
1,313
882
5,426
2,217

6,429
262
0
5,632
25,946

167,194
502
1,002
82,373
5,295
3
576
20,098

1,085
7,819
2,483
167
10,825

1
5,485
25,935

174,500
660
1,314
99,317
3,720

710
21,567

665
10,725
3,403
96
18,409
247
0
5,361
32,196


30,401
21,754
5,253
17,153
15,443
1,299

253
25,295
17,350
4,546
15,717
13,382
1,781

211
26,441
17,647
5,330
14,699
13,173
1,221


25,695
17,567
5,549
15,106
13,472
1,439

124
21,631
14,696
4,610
11,376
10,288
1,046

392
24,793
18,338
5,080
13,784
12,710
931


22,663
17,123
4,270
8,499
7,235
1,197

43,499
42,428
645
415

46,002
44,297
1,290
407

44,129
41,706
1,418
1,001

41,601
38,648
1,972
975

35,926
34,137
1,113
588

44,667
42,066
1,810
785

42,044
39,165
2,329
544

% change
1994,
2001

2

% change
1999,
2001

2

% change
2000,
2001

27.4

25.8

123.1
-60.6


43.9
-25.2

2,435.7
131.4

110.7
41.4

229.8
209.6

97.7

37.2

352.4

186.3

70.1

2

20.6
-29.7

-100.0
287.6

24.1

-21.2

-55.2
-57.1

-25.3
-29.7

-38.3
-43.1

17.0
14.7
109.3

This classification of drugs is derived from the Multum Lexicon, Copyright © 2002, Multum Information Services, Inc. The classification has been modified to meet DAWN’s unique requirements
(2002). The Multum Licensing Agreement governing use of the Lexicon is provided in an appendix to other DAWN publications and can be found on the Internet at www.multum.com.
This column denotes statistically significant (p < 0.05) increases and decreases between estimates for the periods noted.

NOTE: These estimates are based on a representative sample of non-Federal, short-stay hospitals with 24-hour EDs in the coterminous U.S. Dots (…) indicate that an estimate with a relative standard
error greater than 50 percent has been suppressed. For the Atlanta contribution to the national estimates, data for January-June 2001 were imputed for Atlanta nonrespondents based on actual data
from January-June 2000. These estimates have been published already in ED Trends From DAWN and in the Detailed ED Tables, 2001, which are available online at http://DAWNinfo.samhsa.gov.
CNS = central nervous system, ED = emergency department, GHB = gamma hydroxy butyrate, LSD = lysergic acid diethylamide, MAO = monoamine oxidase,
MDMA = methylenedioxymethamphetamine, NOS = not otherwise specified, NTA = not tabulated above, PCP = phencyclidine, SSRI = selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
SOURCE: Office of Applied Studies, SAMHSA, Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2001 (03/2002 update).

JUNE 2003

2

Total
1997

1

Total
1996

T H E DA W N R E P O RT

Analgesics .................................................. 136,939
Antimigraine agents ..........................
549
Cox-2 inhibitors ..................................
0
Narcotic analgesics/combinations ... 44,518
codeine/combinations .......................
9,439
dihydrocodeine/combinations ...........

fentanyl/combinations ......................
28
hydrocodone/combinations ..............
9,320
hydromorphone/combinations ..........
887
meperidine/combinations ..................
925
methadone ........................................
3,252
morphine/combinations ....................
1,099
opium/combinations .........................

oxycodone/combinations ..................
4,069
pentazocine/combinations ................
289
phenacetin/combinations ..................

propoxyphene/combinations.............
6,731
narcotic analgesics-NOS ...................
8,307
all other narcotic analgesics/
combinations NTA.........................
59
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents 28,742
ibuprofen .......................................... 19,588
naproxen ...........................................
4,302
Salicylates/combinations .................. 18,990
aspirin/combinations......................... 16,875
salicylates-NOS .................................
1,772
Miscellaneous analgesics/
combinations .................................. 44,119
acetaminophen/combinations ........... 43,637
tramadol............................................
0
analgesics-NOS.................................
478
Analgesic combinations NTA ...........
20

Total
1995

T H E DA W N R E P O RT

JUNE 2003

7

Most frequent drugs mentioned in ED visits related to drug abuse: 2001
100
80
Percent

In 2001, 85 percent of ED drug mentions
came from only 7 categories: alcohol-incombination, cocaine, marijuana,
benzodiazepines, analgesics, heroin,
and antidepressants. Because they are
illicit drugs, cocaine, heroin, and
marijuana are well known, longstanding problems that receive much
attention from many data systems. Yet,
benzodiazepines, analgesics, and
antidepressants together represented
nearly 30 percent (339,484) of total ED
drug mentions in 2001. DAWN data help
to focus greater attention to the abuse
potential of these drugs.

Other DAWN
Publications
This report summarizes only major
drug categories and selected drugs
for the coterminous U.S. This
information has been extracted from
more detailed DAWN publications
that are available online at
http://DAWNinfo.samhsa.gov.
Thousands of drugs are reported in
ED visits to DAWN each year and
estimates are available not only for
the U.S. but also for 21 major
metropolitan areas.
In addition to greater drug and
geographic detail, other DAWN
publications include:

Descriptions of the hospital ED
sample, response rates, population
estimates, and data collection
methods.
Estimates for each of 21
metropolitan areas, demographic
characteristics of patients, and
characteristics of the ED visits
themselves.

60
40

34%

30%
17%

20
0

ug s
l-in tion
dr isit
o
l
h
ta v
o a
To use Alc mbin
o
ab
c

ine
ca
o
C

16%
s

a

ine

an

iju
ar

M

16%

ia

od

z
en

p
ze

B

Extensive drug detail, including
street terms for the major
substances of abuse, and the
component drugs among the
psychotherapeutic, central
nervous system (CNS),
respiratory, and cardiovascular
agents.

Estimated rates per 100,000
population, which are essential for
making comparisons across age,
gender, or geographic subgroups
of differing sizes.

Relative standard errors for all
published estimates.

An index of generic and brand
(trade) names for prescription
and OTC pharmaceuticals.

DAWN publications:
1. The DAWN Report focuses on
topics of special interest in a
brief and accessible format.
Topics for The DAWN Report are
frequently the result of consumer
input.

tic

co

r
Na

15%
in

ro

He

Analgesics

12%

10%

r

he

Ot

s

nt

sa

s
re

ep

tid

An

2. Emergency Department Trends
From DAWN is published twice
each year. The first publication
includes preliminary estimates
developed from the first half-year
of data (January-June). The
second, more extensive publication
presents final estimates for the full
year with statistical comparisons to
prior years.
3. Detailed ED Tables are published
annually on the Internet and
contain cross-tabulations of
estimates for specific data items for
the most recent year along with
extensive information on the drugs
reported in combination, with an
emphasis on the most frequently
occurring patterns.
4. Mortality Data From DAWN,
published annually, presents data
on drug abuse deaths reported to
DAWN by medical examiners and
coroners from selected
metropolitan areas.
All publications are available online
and free printed copies may be
ordered.

The DAWN Report is published periodically by the Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
(SAMHSA). This issue was written by Dr. Wendy Kissin (Westat) and Dr. Judy Ball (SAMHSA/OAS Project Officer). All material appearing in this
report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission from SAMHSA. Citation of the source is appreciated.

8

T H E DA W N R E P O RT

JUNE 2003

About DAWN
The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) is a national surveillance system that collects data on drug-related visits to emergency departments
(EDs) and drug-related deaths reviewed by medical examiners and coroners. Data on ED visits are collected from a national probability sample
of non-Federal, short-stay hospitals, with oversampling in 21 major metropolitan areas. Data from the sample are used to generate estimates for
the coterminous U.S. and the 21 metropolitan areas.
ED visits are reportable to DAWN if a patient between the ages of 6 and 97 was treated for a condition associated with intentional drug abuse,
including recreational use, dependence, or suicide attempt. Visits involving chronic health conditions resulting from drug abuse are reportable.
Abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications is reportable. Adverse reactions associated with appropriate use of these drugs and
accidental ingestion or inhalation of any drug are not reportable.

DAWN ED Data
Collection Areas

Seattle
Detroit

Minneapolis

This map shows the 21 metropolitan areas
where EDs are oversampled by DAWN.
Estimates from each of the metropolitan
areas are pooled with estimates from the
National Panel (a sample of hospitals outside of the 21 areas) to produce national
estimates of drug abuse-related ED visits
for the coterminous U.S.

Buffalo
Chicago

Baltimore
Washington

Denver
San Francisco

St. Louis

Boston
New York
Newark
Philadelphia

Los Angeles
Phoenix

Dallas

Atlanta

San
Diego
New
Orleans
Miami

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Office of Applied Studies
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 16-105
Rockville, MD 20857
Official Business
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