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Drug Abuse Warning Network

S. W. Hinkley, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1981;38(2):233. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1981.01780270119020.
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To the Editor.—  The article "The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Program: Toxicologic Verification of 1,008 Emergency Room 'Mentions' " by Dr J. Thomas Ungerleider and his colleagues that appeared in the January 1980 issue of the Archives (1980;37:106-109) raises many more questions regarding the authors' research methodology and the validity of their findings than it does regarding the accuracy of DAWN reporting. In that article, which describes a recent validity study of DAWN data reported from the emergency room of Los Angeles County—University of Southern California Medical Center, it was stated that the investigators were able to verify the accuracy of DAWN reports in 20% of the cases for which toxicological results were available, that they were able to determine that DAWN reports were inaccurate in 11% of the same cases, and that the DAWN reports were only partially correct in 69% of the cases.Even if we ignore the


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