The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) is a nationwide public health surveillance system administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ). In 2018, SAMHSA reinstated DAWN after a 7-year hiatus. As of October 15, 2020, data are being abstracted from 49 hospitals; ultimately, the system will include at least 50 non-Federal general hospitals with 24-hour emergency departments (EDs), consisting of 10 sentinel hospitals and 40 probability sampled hospitals. Data are abstracted directly from hospital electronic health records.
DAWN captures data on ED visits related to recent substance use and misuse, such as alcohol use, illicit drug use, suicide attempts, and nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals. DAWN data will be used to monitor trends, demographic and geographic characteristics, and outcomes of ED visits. DAWN’s design will yield surveillance data on an ongoing basis and has the potential to produce national estimates. This initiative will serve as an early warning system for the emergence of new and novel psychoactive substances.