University Of Maryland
CESAR: Center for Substance Abuse Research

Our Research

CESAR is one of the nation’s premier university-based research institutes addressing issues related to alcohol and other drugs. CESAR’s multidisciplinary research team comprises epidemiologists, sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, statisticians, and demographic experts. This expert team enables CESAR to:

  • Monitor drug trends
  • Develop innovative methods to identify emerging drug trends
  • Conduct policy-relevant research
  • Design drug-prevention programs
  • Evaluate drug-prevention, intervention, and treatment programs
  • Provide technical assistance to state and local agencies
  • Train students in substance abuse research methods and policy analysis

CESAR has an extensive history of survey research among adult and juvenile criminal justice populations, drug treatment clients, substance abuse experts, and the general population. CESAR has worked effectively with professionals from public health, legislative, law enforcement, and drug treatment institutions to understand developments in drug use trends and epidemiology and to help evaluate and formulate program and policy responses to problems associated with drug use.

CESAR’s recent accomplishments include:

  • Developing the National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS), a nationwide public health surveillance system that monitors emerging drug use trends to enable health experts, researchers, and concerned citizens across the country to respond quickly to potential outbreaks of illicit drugs such as heroin and to identify increased use of designer synthetic compounds.

  • Working with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to implement the Community Drug Early Warning System (CDEWS), an innovative system designed to identify emerging substance abuse trends in local criminal justice populations.

  • Developing a statewide resource website ( to assist professionals and community members in locating community services, including health, social service, and criminal justice programs.

  • Representing Maryland and Washington, DC, at the national Community Epidemiology Workgroup (CEWG) meetings convened by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

  • Assisting local community coalitions with needs assessments, strategic plans, implementation plans, and evaluations of environmental prevention strategies to address local priorities.

  • Piloting an innovative program of expanded testing of Maryland probationers/parolee urine speciments, utilizing samples already being routinely collected by Department of Parole and Probation staff.

  • Overseeing the collection, interpretation, and dissemination of indicators of ATOD use and related consequences as part of the Maryland and Washington, DC, State Epidemiological Outcome Workgroups (SEOWs).