National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS)

Brief Description

The National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) was first funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2014 as an expansion of its longstanding Community Epidemiology Workgroup (CEWG).

Through July 2020, the first iteration of the NDEWS Coordinating Center was overseen by researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Substance Abuse Research. In April 2020, NIDA funded the second iteration of the NDEWS Coordinating Center as a Cooperative Agreement grant to the University of Florida, and is led by scientists from the University of Florida, New York University, and Florida Atlantic University.  

This second iteration of NDEWS will incorporate real-time surveillance to detect early signals of potential drug epidemics. The new system implements an expanded Early Warning Network including 18 sentinel sites that utilizes novel surveillance methods and harmonizes and disseminates data in a rapid and timely manner.

Ongoing data collection will provide an integrated and comprehensive characterization of drug use and availability by synthesizing traditional, indirect sources with new, direct sources of data, as well as on-the-ground epidemiologic investigations within high-priority areas of concern.

Additional information on the second iteration of NDEWS and archived NDEWS reports and webinars from 2014-2020 are available at

NDEWS sentinel sites (see table below)

NDEWS Sentinel Sites

Site State Geographic Coverage
Atlanta GA Atlanta Metro Area
Chicago IL Chicago Metro Area
Denver CO Denver Metro Area
Detroit MI Wayne County
Los Angeles CA Los Angeles County
Maine ME State of Maine
Minneapolis MN Minneapolis Metro Area
New York City NY New York City
Philadelphia PA Philadelphia County
Phoenix AZ Phoenix Metro
San Diego CA San Diego County
San Francisco CA San Francisco County
Seattle/King County WA King County
Southeastern Florida FL Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties
St. Louis MO Greater St. Louis Area
Texas TX State of Texas
Washington, DC DC Baltimore–Washington Metro Area
West Virginia WV State of West Virginia


Linda B. Cottler, PhD, MPH, FACE
Associate Dean for Research, College of Public Health and Health Professions
Department of Epidemiology, Colleges of Public Health and Health Professions and Medicine
2004 Mowry Road, Room 4218
P.O. Box 100231
Gainesville, FL 32610

NDEWS NIDA Project Scientist:

Moira P. O'Brien, M. Phil.
Epidemiology Research Branch
Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research
National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Rm. 5185, MSC 9589
Bethesda  MD  20892-9589
Phone: 301 402-1881
Fax: 301 443-2636


A cooperative agreement grant to support NDEWS was awarded in April, 2020, to the University of Florida.