Community Epidemiology Surveillance Networks are multi-agency work groups with a public-health orientation. They study the spread, growth, or development of drug abuse related problems. The primary objective of these networks is to identify patterns of drug abuse in defined geographic zones, as well as changes in such patterns. Other objectives include the detection of emerging substance abuse, and the dissemination of the information obtained about such abuse to the appropriate agencies and organizations. These organizations may use this information in the development of policies, prevention strategies, research studies, etc.

The primary purpose of a local surveillance network is to share timely and reliable information about drug abuse. These networks may contribute to one or more elements of a need assessment.

The surveillance network model has many advantages for planning purposes including its:

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