National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA-1979)

Parent Series Details:

Background

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) series, formerly titled National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, is a major source of statistical information on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco and on mental health issues among members of the U.S. civilian, non-institutional population aged 12 or older. The survey tracks trends in specific substance use and mental illness measures and assesses the consequences of these conditions by examining mental and/or substance use disorders and treatment for these disorders.

Examples of uses of NSDUH data include the identification of groups at high risk for initiation of substance use and issues among those with co-occurring substance use disorders and mental illness.

NSDUH public-use data files are available for download in SAS, SPSS, STATA and ASCII formats, and online analysis with SDA. NSDUH restricted-use data files are available for online analysis with the R-DAS.

The NSDUH is sponsored by the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (formerly Office of Applied Studies), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. For more information, visit the NSDUH website.

NSDUH State Estimates

To access 2014-2015 NSDUH State Estimates of Substance Use and Mental Disorders click here.

NSDUH Variable Crosswalk Charts

PUFVariableCrosswalkChart_2012.xlsx
PUFVariableCrosswalkChart_2013.xlsx
PUFVariableCrosswalkChart_2014.xlsx
PUFVariableCrosswalkChart_2015.xlsx

 

NSDUH Questionnaire Details

The population of the NSDUH series is the general civilian population aged 12 and older in the United States. Questions include age at first use, as well as lifetime, annual, and past-month usage for the following drugs: alcohol, marijuana, cocaine (including crack), hallucinogens, heroin, inhalants, tobacco, pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. The survey covers substance abuse treatment history and perceived need for treatment, and includes questions from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders that allow diagnostic criteria to be applied.

Respondents were also asked about personal and family income sources and amounts, health care access and coverage, illegal activities and arrest record, problems resulting from the use of drugs, perceptions of risks, and needle-sharing. Demographic data include gender, race, age, ethnicity, educational level, job status, income level, veteran status, household composition, and population density.

The questionnaire was significantly redesigned in 1994. The 1994 survey included for the first time a rural population supplement to allow separate estimates to be calculated for this population. Other modules have been added each year and retained in subsequent years: mental health and access to care (1994-B); risk/availability of drugs (1996); cigar smoking and new questions on marijuana and cocaine use (1997); question series asked only of respondents aged 12 to 17 (1997); questions on tobacco brand (1999); marijuana purchase questions (2001); prior marijuana and cigarette use, additional questions on drug treatment, adult mental health services, and social environment (2003); and adult and adolescent depression questions derived from the National Comorbidity Survey, Replication (NCS-R) and National Comorbidity Survey, Adolescent (NCS-A) (2004).

Survey administration and sample design were improved with the implementation of the 1999 survey, and additional improvements were made in 2002. Since 1999, the survey sample has employed a 50-state design with an independent, multistage area probability sample for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. At this time, the collection mode of the survey changed from personal interviews and self-enumerated answer sheets to using computer-assisted personal interviews and audio computer-assisted self-interviews. In 2002, the survey’s title was officially changed to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

Since 2002, participants are given $30 for participating in the study. This resulted in an increase in participation rates from the years prior to 2002. Also, in 2002 and 2011, the new population data from the 2000 and 2010 decennial Censuses, respectively, became available for use in the sample weighting procedures. For these reasons, data gathered for 2002 and beyond cannot validly be compared to data prior to 2002.


Study Details:
This series measures the prevalence and correlates of drug use in the United States. The surveys are designed to provide quarterly, as well as annual, estimates. Information is provided on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and nonmedical use of prescription drugs among members of United States households aged 12 and older. Questions include age at first use, as well as lifetime, annual, and past-month usage for the following drug classes: cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, inhalants, alcohol, tobacco, nonmedical use of prescription drugs including psychotherapeutics, and polysubstance use. Respondents were also asked about their knowledge of drugs, perceptions of the risks involved, population movement, and sequencing of drug use. Fifty-seven percent of respondents were asked specific questions about their perceptions of the consequences of marijuana and alcohol use. The other 43 percent were asked about heroin use among friends. Demographic data include gender, race, age, ethnicity, marital status, educational level, job status, income level, and household composition.

Study Scope

Time period: 
1979
Collection date: 
1979-08/1980-01
Geographic coverage : 
United States
Unit of observation: 
individual
Data types: 
survey data
Universe: 
The civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the coterminous United States (Alaska and Hawaii excluded) aged 12 and older.
Notes: 
Data were collected by Response Analysis Corporation, Princeton, NJ, under contract with National Institute on Drug Abuse. The data and codebook were prepared for release by Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC, and the codebook was initially distributed by National Opinion Research Center, Chicago, IL, under contracts with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
For selected variables, statistical imputation was done following logical imputation to replace missing responses. These variables are identified in the codebook as "...LOGICALLY IMPUTED" and "...imputed" for the logical procedure or by the designation "IMPUTATION REVISED" in the variable label when the statistical procedure was also performed. The names of statistically imputed variables begin with the letters "IR". For each imputation-revised variable there is a corresponding imputation indicator variable that indicates whether a case's value on the variable resulted from an interview response or was imputed by the hot-deck technique, which is described in the codebook.
The "basic sampling weights" are equal to the inverse of the probabilities of selection of sample respondents. To obtain "final NHSDA weights," the basic weights were adjusted to take into account dwelling unit-level and individual-level nonresponse and further adjusted to ensure consistency with population projections from the United States Bureau of the Census.
To protect the confidentiality of respondents, all variables that could be used to identify individuals have been encrypted, collapsed, or deleted. These modifications should not affect analytic uses of the data.
New editing, revised handling of missing data, and different sampling weights were applied to the original 1979 NHSDA data file to make it more comparable with later NHSDAs. This resulted in several differences between the original and public use files. Although differences in prevalence estimates are generally small, published findings of the 1979 NHSDA cannot be replicated using the public use file.
The codebook, which includes the data collection instruments, is provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file.
For some drugs that have multiple names, questions regarding the use of that drug may be asked for each distinct name. For example, the use of methedrine and desoxyn are measured separately in this study even though they are both methamphetamine.
Subject Terms: 
  • alcohol
  • alcohol abuse
  • alcohol consumption
  • amphetamines
  • barbiturates
  • cocaine
  • demographic characteristics
  • drug abuse
  • drug use
  • drugs
  • hallucinogens
  • heroin
  • households
  • inhalants
  • marijuana
  • methamphetamine
  • prescription drugs
  • sedatives
  • smoking
  • stimulants
  • substance abuse
  • substance abuse treatment
  • tobacco use
  • tranquilizers
  • youths

Study Methodology

Sample: 
Multistage area probability sample design involving five selection stages: (1) primary sampling units areas (e.g., counties), (2) subareas within primary areas (blocks or block groups), (3) listing units within subareas (housing units or group quarters), (4) age-group-smoking classes within sampled listing units, and (5) eligible individuals within sampled age-group-smoking classes. A total of 103 Primary Sampling Units (PSUs) were selected to represent the total United States population. These PSUs were defined as metropolitan areas, counties, groups of counties, and independent cities. The rural supplement consisted of an additional eight rural PSUs. The two race classifications used were white and Black/other, and the two race/ethnic group choices were white and Black/other. Minorities and younger household members were oversampled. Five age divisions were usually classified into three groups: youth (ages 12 to 17), young adult (ages 18 to 21 and 22 to 25), and older adult (ages 26 to 34 and 35 and older). Each age group was sampled separately, and the probability of selection decreased with the prospective respondent's age. One youth and/or one adult could be chosen per household. The basic national sample was supplemented by a sample of residents of rural areas.
Response rates: 
  • The overall interview completion rate was 83 percent. The interview completion rates for the three age groups were: 86 percent for youth, 84 percent for young adults, and 80 percent for older adults.
Versions: 
  • 2015-02-03: Created a separate Questionnaire PDF that was extracted from the Codebook PDF.
  • 2013-06-19: Updated variable-level ddi files released.
  • 2008-06-18: A duplicate page was removed from the pdf codebook.
  • 2008-06-03: New files were added. These files included one or more of the following: Stata setup, SAS transport (CPORT), SPSS system, Stata system, SAS supplemental syntax, and Stata supplemental syntax files, and a tab-delimited ASCII data file. Also, the CASEID variable has been added to the dataset.
Extent of processing: 
  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.