In 2014, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland, College Park, through a cooperative agreement to develop a nationwide public health surveillance system. NDEWS is designed to monitor emerging drug use trends to enable health experts, researchers, and concerned citizens across the country to respond quickly to potential outbreaks of illicit drugs such as heroin and to identify increased use of designer synthetic compounds.
The four main components of NDEWS depicted in the organizational chart are:
- Administration (red),
- Detecting and monitoring drugs and drug trends (blue),
- Following up to collect more complete and accurate information (green), and
- Sharing and disseminating information (purple).
In December 2014, CESAR launched the NDEWS Network, a virtual community of more than 500 scientists, government officials, public health experts, law enforcement representatives, and others for sharing information and assisting with local research. Other sources of information are currently being developed, including social media (e.g., Twitter) and news scans, collaborations with agencies on the front line of substance abuse treatment such as the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), and site visits to local communities experiencing emerging drug problems or changes in drug use trends.
More information about NDEWS be found in the CESAR FAX issue, NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Partners with CESAR to Establish the National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) and on the NIDA NDEWS page.