National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA-1990)

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 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, anabolic steroids, and tobacco 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: marijuana, inhalants, cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, alcohol, tobacco, and nonmedical use of psychotherapeutics. Respondents were also asked about problems resulting from their use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, their perceptions of the risks involved, insurance coverage, and personal and family income sources and amounts. Demographic data include gender, race, ethnicity, educational level, job status, income level, household composition, and population density.

Study Scope

Time period: 
1990
Collection date: 
1990-09/1991-02
Geographic coverage : 
United States
Unit of observation: 
individual
Data types: 
survey data
Universe: 
The population of the continuous United States, aged 12 and older, living in households.
Notes: 
Data were collected by Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC, and prepared for release by National Opinion Research Center, Chicago, IL.
For selected variables, statistical imputation was performed following logical imputation to replace missing responses. Unique code values were assigned to the recency-of-use variable when such logical imputation occurred. These code values are readily identifiable by the phrase "... LOGICALLY IMPUTED" or "... LOGICALLY ASSIGNED" in the code value descriptions.
Data were weighted based on the three stages of sampling that were used. The person-level sampling weight is the product of the three-stage sampling weights, each of which is equal to the inverse of the selection probability for that stage. Adjustments were made to compensate for nonresponse and sampling error. Adjustments also included trimming sample weights to reduce excessive weight variation and a post-stratification to Census population estimates.
To protect the anonymity of respondents, all variables that could be used to identify individuals have been deleted from the public use file.
For some drugs that have multiple names, questions regarding the use of that drug may be asked for each distinct name. For example, even though methamphetamine, methedrine and desoxyn are the same drug, their use was measured in three separate variables.
Subject Terms: 
  • alcohol abuse
  • alcohol consumption
  • amphetamines
  • barbiturates
  • cocaine
  • 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 sample design with an oversampling of young people, minorities, and the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Versions: 
  • 2013-05-06: Data collection instrument released.
  • 2008-07-25: 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 tab-delimited ASCII data file. The variable CASEID was also added to the dataset.
  • 2005-11-04: On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.
  • 1999-03-18: The data file was reprocessed to recode missing values previously coded as "." to blanks. This will enable users to use the data in SPSS without modification. Also, SAS and SPSS data definition statements are now available for this study.
  • 1997-12-12: A machine-readable codebook in Portable Document Format (PDF) is now available.
Extent of processing: 
  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Study Bibliography