Assessment of Major Federal Data Sets for Analyses of Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander Subgroups and Native Americans: Inventory of Selected Existing Federal Databases. National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA)


Sponsoring agency

Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration
Department of Health and Human Services


Reference date



The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) provides statistical information on the use of illegal drugs, collected through interviews with a national household sample of persons 12 years old and older. A self-administered portion of the inquiry includes questions on recent use and frequency of use of various licit and illicit drugs, opinions about drugs, problems associated with drug use, perceived need and demand for drug abuse treatment, and drug abuse treatment experience. The interviewer-administered questions include the demographic characteristics and socio-economic background items, as well as health status, adult mental issues, health insurance, utilization of services, and access to health care. Data are collected throughout the calendar year.

The sample size in 1998 was about 24,500 persons; in 1999, the sample size will approach 70,000 CAPI interviews and as many as 15,000 "paper and pencil" interviews. In future years, plans call for limiting the survey to about 70,000 CAPI interviews.


The survey includes the following questions concerning race/ethnic origin:

  • Are you of Spanish/Latino/Hispanic descent?
    YES NO

    Which best describes you? (Mark all)

    Puerto Rican
    Central/South American
    Other (specify)


    Which group best describes you? (Mark all)

    American Indian/Alaskan Native
    Pacific Islander
    Asian Indian
    Other (specify)


Interviewing policy

The CAPI system displays both English and Spanish language versions of the interviewer form, and the staff contains interviewers with English/Spanish language capability. Other household members are asked to assist when bilingual capability is not available, or arrangements are made to callback in order to obtain the interview.

Sample size

The NHSDA sample design used in 1998 oversampled Blacks and Hispanics. Further, the 1998 survey oversampled residents of Arizona and California in order to provide direct survey estimates for these States. The sample sizes shown in Appendix Tables A-1 to A-3 are for 1998, and reflect the oversampling of Hispanics.

Publications of data for Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans

Data are presented for three major race/ethnic groups: white, blacks, and Hispanics. A fourth category, Other, includes Asian and Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, and other groups. The Agency recently issued a special report containing extended detail for Hispanics, and may provide additional special reports for individual racial groups in the future. Public use micro-record data files are available; these records contain the detailed information on race/Hispanic origin.

Revised race/ethnic definitions

The current series of questions is consistent with the proposed OMB race/ethnic standards.

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