Our team enthusiastically submits this proposal to be the next NDEWS Coordinating Center (CC) in response to RFA DA-20-016. The CC is spearheaded by the Cottler Lab (Epidemiology), with investigators from University of Florida's Center for Addiction Research & Education (Nixon, Goldberger, Striley), the Palamar Lab at New York University and the Machine Perception and Cognitive Robotics Lab-Barenholtz) at Florida Atlantic University. Our CC will maintain strong sentinel surveillance efforts while expanding our Early Warning Network sites, adding leading edge indicators that extend beyond lagged city-level data. We will extend the work of NIDA-funded researchers, while harmonizing and analyzing data, with timely and systematic notifications. The new NDEWS CC will work to seamlessly transition on-going efforts, advance methods and approaches, establish and engage a Scientific Advisory Group (SAG), and collaborate with all consortium components to accomplish these Specific Aims: 1) Provide an Early Warning Network of 12 NDEWS sites and 6 Community Epidemiology Workgroup sites for ongoing surveillance of urban, rural, and suburban areas; 2) Utilize established and new key community-level indicators for ongoing surveillance to assess trends in availability, use, and consequences of NPS and known substances, standardized across all sites to facilitate cross-site analyses; 3) Incorporate and leverage novel surveillance methods to ensure early detection of signals of NPS and emerging drug trends, including data from DanceSafe ?drug checkers,? Rapid Street Reporting (RSR) with hair testing for NPS exposure, the implementation of a virtual HealthStreet substance user network, and development of an innovative machine learning approach to detect emergence of NPS in real-time through drug retailers (including the ?darknet?) and social media platforms; 4) Harmonize standardized indicator definitions for all incoming surveillance data with the input of NIDA, the SAG, and Early Warning Network experts; facilitate cross-site comparability of data; manage quality control; organize, coordinate, and summarize data, and provide organizational and logistical support; 5) Disseminate findings quickly via dashboards modeled after Florida Drug-related Outcomes Surveillance and Tracking System (FROST); push notifications for regular updates and alerts; webinars; virtual Our Community Our Health Town Hall meetings; and traditionally through official reports, peer-reviewed publications, media, and annual reporting at CPDD, and elsewhere; 6) Conduct on-the-ground epidemiologic investigations on topics of immediate crisis or need; 7) Provide operational, administrative, and logistical support to the enterprise and NIDA; and 8) Train the next generation of scientists in NDEWS methodology. NDEWS has unrealized potential, and with this funding, we will transform the culture so that NDEWS is NIDA's and the field's go-to source for drug trends in the US. It will provide evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies to eventually reduce the harmful effects of substance use around the world.
There is nothing more aligned with the NIDA Strategic Plan to protect the public health than detecting signals of emerging drug use trends. This proposal coordinates the data collection efforts from 18 sites and NIDA funded investigators to notify people everywhere of the signals detected. With this information, immediate responses can take place for interventions. The team at UF/NYU and FAU are strong and have the capability to immediately innovate an expanded National Drug Early Warning Network for the public health.