National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)


The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ). The CBHSQ (formerly the Office of Applied Studies (OAS)) is the data collection agency.


The NSDUH serves as the primary source of information on the prevalence and incidence of illicit drug, alcohol, and tobacco use in the civilian, non-institutionalized population aged 12 or older in the United States. In-person interviews with sampled persons. Computer-assisted interviewing (CAI) methods, including audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI), are used to provide a private and confidential setting to complete the interview.

Survey Sample Design

The NSDUH covers residents of households (living in houses/townhouses, apartments, condominiums, etc.), persons in non-institutional group quarters (e.g., shelters, rooming/boarding houses, college dormitories, migratory workers' camps, halfway houses), and civilians living on military bases. Persons excluded from the survey include homeless people who do not use shelters, active military personnel, and residents of institutional group quarters.

NSDUH data are representative of the nation and states. The survey design includes an independent, multistage area probability sample for each state and the District of Columbia to accommodate state estimates of substance use and mental health. The survey design also oversamples youths and young adults.

Primary Survey Content

The NSDUH collects a respondent's demographic characteristics; age at first use, lifetime, past-year, and past-month use of the following substances: illicit drugs (marijuana or hashish, cocaine (including crack), inhalants, hallucinogens, heroin, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics used non-medically (e.g., stimulants, sedatives, tranquilizers, and pain relievers), alcohol, and tobacco; substance use disorders; substance use treatment; health care; mental health disorders; and mental health service utilization.

Population Targeted

U.S. civilian non-institutionalized population aged 12 or older.

Demographic Data

Age, gender, race/ethnicity, marital status, education, employment status, family income, health insurance, veteran status, current household composition, and metropolitan status of county.

Years Collected

Since 1971.



Geographic Estimates

National, State, and sub state estimates as well as estimates by county type and region.


Public-use data files for 1979, 1982, 1985, 1988, and annually from 1990 to present are currently available through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA) and the archive's on-line data analysis system (

Contact Information

Agency home page:

Data system home page:


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-44, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4713. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012.