Purpose of review
In 2013, NIH NIDA released a special funding opportunity to update and expand their longstanding Community Epidemiology Workgroup (CEWG) by creating a coordinating center for a new type of monitoring system that became the National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS). This article provides an overview of four primary NDEWS components: core staff; an approach to detecting and monitoring emerging drug trends including community-based epidemiologists and national databases; small rapid follow-up studies; and innovative multimedia approaches for disseminating information.
The cornerstones for detecting and monitoring are the 1700+ member NDEWS Network and a coalition of local epidemiologists. Follow-up studies are designed with local researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to focus on local trends. Among NDEWS accomplishments are developing protocols for expanded urinalyses in high-risk populations and conducting follow-up studies with local collaborators in New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, and a tribal nation in Minnesota.
During its first 6 years, NDEWS has advanced its mission to develop multidisciplinary collaborations and innovative technologies for identifying, monitoring, and following up on emerging drug trends and has contributed to the translation of science into practice.