Data Projects - MNDOSA

Minnesota Drug Overdose and Substance Use Surveillance Activity (MNDOSA)

To collect timely and accurate information that informs prevention, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) launched MNDOSA to track hospital-treated cases of substance misuse in near-real time. (Note: MNDOSA does not collect data on cases of intentional overdose or solely alcohol misuse.) While toxicology testing is rarely performed in hospital-treated overdoses, MNDOSA provides an opportunity for hospitals to send biological samples to MDH’s Public Health Laboratory for expanded toxicology testing when they see severe or unusual cases. For these cases, MDH collects data on the circumstances and risk factors involved in the reported case. MNDOSA began in 2017 and operates in select hospitals in Northeast Minnesota with plans to expand to other areas of the state.

This new system helps:

  • Measure the impact of overdoses and visits related to substance misuse treated in emergency departments and hospitals in Minnesota.
  • Identify clusters of drug overdoses and what substances they involve.
  • Identify new substances being used, and substances that do not cause the typical signs and symptoms of drug use, as well as those causing severe illness or death, through comprehensive toxicology testing at the MDH Public Health Laboratory.
  • Identify who is most at-risk for overdose and substance use to focus and guide prevention efforts.

Collecting and using MNDOSA information

The data collected from MNDOSA are being used to rapidly gather information about patterns of drug overdose and substance use in Minnesota, including what substances are contributing to overdoses. A subset of patients with severe or unusual symptoms have blood and/or urine samples submitted to MDH Public Health Laboratory for further toxicological analysis. The results from these samples are used only for public health surveillance purposes and cannot be used for any other purposes. The toxicology results help identify and track what drugs are being used in Minnesota. The MDH Public Health Laboratory is able to test a wider range of substances than most hospital and clinical laboratories, using an advanced instrument capable of identifying over 900 substances.

Comprehensive toxicology testing can provide information on what combinations of drugs, like opioids and stimulants, are present at the time of the patient’s encounter. The findings reflect a snapshot of the substances in a person’s system; they may not show which substances were directly involved in the patient’s hospital-treated overdose. This testing provides accurate information on what substances people are actually using, as compared to what they believe they are using.

The most common substances detected through MNDOSA are amphetamines.

SOURCE: Minnesota Drug Overdose and Substance Use Surveillance Activity, Injury and Violence Prevention Section, Minnesota Department of Health, 2017-2022.

Two or more substances are often detected in MNDOSA cases; opioids and amphetamines are frequently detected together.

SOURCE: Minnesota Drug Overdose and Substance Use Surveillance Activity, Injury and Violence Prevention Section, Minnesota Department of Health, 2017-2022.

Most substances were detected in samples more frequently than were suspected, either by the clinician or the patient.

SOURCE: Minnesota Drug Overdose and Substance Use Surveillance Activity, Injury and Violence Prevention Section, Minnesota Department of Health, 2017-2022.

Get Involved

If your hospital is interested in participating in MNDOSA, or you would like to learn more about MNDOSA, please contact the Drug Overdose Epidemiology Unit at health.drugodepi@state.mn.us.

Additional Resources

Drug Overdose Dashboard – a one-stop shop for opioid-related data and information.

Drug overdose deaths among Minnesota residents - this report highlights overdose death data in Minnesota.

Updated Friday, 22-Apr-2022 11:50:47 CDT