The University of Florida has been chosen as the coordinating center for the National Drug Early Warning System, a surveillance system funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to identify emerging drug abuse trends, the university announced on Tuesday.
UF has received a five-year grant to track drug use trends by monitoring data from a variety of sources. The coordinating center will also serve as a hub for developing new data collecting methods, including online surveys, data mining and crowdsourcing. Additional funds have been allocated for adding a COVID-19-focused component to the research.
“We must embrace innovative strategies to address drug epidemics, and NDEWS is just that — a data-intensive approach that enables a rapid and smart response to emerging trends in drug abuse,” David R. Nelson, MD, senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health, said in a news release. “I know this University of Florida team well, and they have decades of experience in substance use research and are in the best position to lead national efforts to tackle ongoing and new drug abuse crises. They care deeply about the community and are eager to lend their expertise to this effort to ultimately improve the lives of so many.”
A scientific advisory group for the project includes researchers from across the country, as well as scientists from CDC, ONDCP, DEA and other agencies. NDEWS will accept data from investigators from 18 sites across the U.S. that will collected based on standardized indicators of drug use on an on-going basis.