Research & Resources

Preliminary Findings from Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits, 2021: Results from the Drug Abuse Warning Network

Researchers at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration explore emergency department (ED) visits related to substance misuse in this report. In 2021, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) identified 141,529 (unweighted) drug-related emergency department (ED) visits from 52 participating hospitals. These data were analyzed to (1) generate nationally representative weighted estimates for the top five drugs in drug-related ED visits, (2) assess monthly trends and drugs involved in polysubstance ED visits in a subset of sentinel hospitals, and (3) identify drugs new to DAWN’s Drug Reference Vocabulary (DRV) in 2021. While the majority of alcohol-related ED visits were due to alcohol alone, a significant percentage of methamphetamine-, marijuana-, cocaine-, heroin-, and fentanyl-related ED visits involved at least one other drug.  Patients aged 18 to 25 had the second highest percentage of ED visits related to marijuana (26.80%) and fentanyl (16.90%).
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