As a physician, I understand the importance of access to data. Good data, and the broadest access to it, is a vital weapon in combating the opioid crisis. As part of a 5-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) identified Better Data as one of the five key strategies.
I am pleased to share the good news that after more than two years of no access to SAMHSA data, I have re-established public access to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA), which is the main platform for disseminating data collected with our various national mental health and substance abuse surveys. SAMHDA makes public-use data files available to anyone for download, in a variety of formats. Once downloaded, a user can use their own software to manipulate and explore the data.
SAMHDA also provides open access to other important data systems.
The Public-use Data Analysis System (P-DAS) provides access to all downloadable public-use data files through an online interface. It is ideal for people who may not have the software or resources to download and analyze data files on their own computer. This system provides reliable local, state, and national data on not only opioid related conditions, but also several mental health and substance use disorders and related services for anyone to access.
The Restricted-use Data Analysis System (R-DAS) tool provides access to restricted-use National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data files through an online interface. NSDUH is the primary source of information on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and abuse and mental disorders in the U.S. civilian, non-institutionalized population, age 12 and older. This helps promote public awareness and provides a better understanding of behavioral health.
In an effort to broaden researcher access to see and use restricted micro-level data, SAMHSA is collaborating with the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) to host the SAMHSA restricted use micro data through NCHS Regional Data Centers (RDCs).
Providing access to SAMHSA data through the NCHS RDCs will not only save taxpayer money, but promote broader researcher access to these data sets. Ensuring that researchers can access the restricted use micro data at RDCs promotes the integration of public health data, as these Centers are the platform for several national public health data sets.
Providing 24/7 online access to all of our national data sets is an important part of SAMHSA’s mission. Individuals, families, communities, and the nation at large are better served when they have access to the highest-quality data available. I will continue doing everything I can to ensure that all Americans have access to the best possible data from SAMHSA.
Thank you for all your efforts to support individuals living with mental and substance use disorders and their families. Together, we will make an impact! Millions of Americans are counting on us!