Highlights from the 2011 DAWN Report

The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) provides nationally representative patient demographic and visit-level information on emergency department (ED) visits resulting from substance misuse or abuse, adverse reactions to drugs taken as prescribed or directed, accidental ingestion of drugs, drug-related suicide attempts, and ED admissions for substance abuse treatment.

Highlights from the 2011 report are as follows:

  • In 2011, there were 5.1 million drug-related emergency department (ED) visits; about one half (49 percent) were attributed to drug misuse or abuse with a nearly equal percentage (45 percent) attributed to adverse drug reactions
  • ED visits involving use of illicit drugs were relatively stable from 2004 (991,640 visits) to 2009 (974,392 visits) but increased from 2009 to 2011 (1,252,500 visits); between 2009 and 2011, the rate of visits involving illicit stimulants increased 68 percent, and the rate of visits involving marijuana rose 19 percent
  • ED visits involving misuse or abuse of pharmaceuticals increased from 2004 (626,470 visits) through 2011 (1,428,145 visits); the most commonly involved drugs were anti-anxiety and insomnia medications and narcotic pain relievers (160.9 and 134.8 visits per 100,000 population, respectively)
  • ED visits involving adverse reactions to drugs increased from 1,250,377 visits in 2005 to 2,287,271 visits in 2009; however, no increase occurred between 2009 and 2011 (2,301,059 visits)

Read the full report here.