The Epidemiological Survey of Substance Abuse among Adults is being conducted as a repeated cross-sectional of representative population samples in Germany since 1980. Evaluations undertaken prior to 1990 included West Germany while from 1990 onwards, the area of the former German Democratic Republic has been included. In 1992, a separate survey has been conducted in the East German states to study the consumption of illegal drugs in this area.
With the exception of the 1980 survey which only included seven of the eleven states of West Germany all epidemiological surveys are representative for the Federal Republic of Germany.
In all studies, the questionnaires were answered by the participants themselves with the exception of the 1980 and 2006 surveys. In 1980, interviewers were employed in Bavaria while in 2006, interviews were conducted by phone in addition to the questionnaire technique.
Since 1980, the study has changed from a sample of adolescents and young adults in the polls between 1980 (18- 24 years) and 1990 (12-39 years) to a sample solely of adults aged 18 to 59 years from 1995. In the 2006 survey, the 60- to- 64- age group has also been questioned.