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The purpose of this report is to provide the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) with an analysis of both the problems and untapped potential for existing data to be used more creatively in exploring drug policy issues and to suggest guidelines and a conceptual framework for identifying and evaluating data needs and analyses that will effectively support national substance abuse policy. Rather than continue to "measure what's measurable" we argue that data improvement efforts should explore options to fill major data gaps using alternative systems. We examine disease reporting systems and registries used in public health injury and illness surveillance as models for developing drug policy data on special populations.

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