The following sites provide access to, or guidelines for how to access, a wide range of public health data, including substance use data for multiple geographic areas; e.g., national, state, and local (counties, cities, towns) levels.
The National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care. (2008). Finding and Using Health Statistics. Bethesda, MD: National Library of Medicine.
This online course is divided into two parts: (1) About Health Statistics discusses the importance of health statistics and how they are created, how the perspectives of organizations that collect and report these statistics shape the material reported, and how health statistics promote population health and enhance societal well being; and (2) Finding Health Statistics which reviews approaches to finding health statistics and helps the user develop search strategies and identify key sources. Supporting material includes a glossary and links to web pages where health data and statistics can be found.
Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce
Partners is a collaboration of U.S. government agencies, public health organizations, and health sciences libraries which provides timely, convenient access to selected public health resources on the Internet. They are a major source of health data tools and statistics, available at the link below. Brief descriptions of sources and links are provided to data at the national, state (from national as well as individual state sources), and county and local; demographic data; statistical reports; training and education materials; and tools for data collection and planning.
Rowan, Cheryl. (2010). Health Statistics on the Web: It’s as Easy as…1, 2, 3! Bethesda, MD: National Network of Libraries of Medicine, National Networks of Libraries of Medicine.
This hands-on course focuses on: the location, selection, and effective use of statistics relevant to health on the local, state, national, and international levels; the types of data sets and statistics available on the Internet, and four-step process to locate relevant statistics for a particular circumstance or issue. The user has the opportunity to become familiar with the features and scope of several Internet resources through numerous exercises.
Selden, Catherine. (2004). “Finding Public Health Statistics and Data Sources,” in Allee, Nancy, et al. Public Health Information and Data: A Training Manual. Bethesda, MD: National Library of Medicine.
This document is part of a larger training manual. Other chapters include: Staying Informed about News in Public Health, Finding Information for Others: Health Education Resources, and Supporting Decisions with Best Evidence. This chapter opens with a brief discussion of important features of health statistics and data sets. This is followed by an extensive listing of federal data sets, state and local data available through federal government and national organizations, and state and local data through individual state systems. Each entry includes a brief description and a web address. Sources of results of statistical analyses (reports, tables, figures) as well as links to tools for building reports and tables also are provided.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies (OAS)
This website is maintained by SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies and is the primary source of information on prevalence, patterns, and consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use. It also contains links to mental health data and data from special studies on risk factors and outcomes. The most recent data and reports are available from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), and the Drug and Alcohol Services Information System (DASIS). OAS also makes available the public use files from its major data collection systems for online, interactive analysis.
Wang, Hongjie. (2011). Data Detective: Finding the Gems of Health Data. Health Data Course. University of Connecticut, Information and Education Services.
This is a 142 slide power point presentation that addresses topics related to: statistics, data and data sets; the importance of health data; major types of health data and how it is collected and managed; common tools to retrieve data and how to use the tools to create data sets. Detailed instruction using real screen shots is included for many sources of data, including: CDC WONDER (Wide-ranging Online data for Epidemiologic Research), WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System), BRFSS (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System), and Fedstats.
Developed under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies contract. Reference #HHSS277200800004C. For training and/or technical assistance purposes only.