How to Use This Site:

Data by Topic allows users to run a customized search.  After choosing a topic, you may refine your search by selecting one or more counties or regions.  After selecting location(s), you can further refine your search using the tool bar at the top.   Depending on the topic, you may choose one or more years and choose demographic options (grade, gender, age, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation).  You also have the option of displaying the data by either Number or Percent (or Rate).

To get started, simply click on a topic: alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, shared risk and protective factors, or mental health.

Use Data by Topic to access maps, charts and trends!

Once you’ve chosen a topic, use the upper left corner of the toolbar to display the data by Map, Bar or Trend: 

  • Map will provide a color-coded map of Minnesota counties, sorted by quartile for the chosen indicator.  Twenty-five percent (one-fourth) of counties will be colored dark blue—these counties have the highest reported consumption or consequence rates for the chosen indicator.  The lightest blue counties have the lowest rates.
  • Bar will display data for the chosen indicator as a bar graph, as compared to the state average.  The Minnesota state average serves as the axis.  Counties with higher rates will show a bar to the right; counties with lower rates will show a bar to the left.  If you customize your search to look at data for 11th grade males, for example, the axis will adjust to reflect the state average for 11th grade males only. 
  • Trend will display data as a line graph, over the chosen time period.  Users may select up to 7 counties or 7 regions to display on one trend graph. The trend feature will be disabled if there are not more than two data points.

Data by Location allows users to view multiple indicators (or topics) for one specific county or region.  Once you choose a location, you will be presented with population statistics from the U.S. Census.  Use the tool bar at the top of the page to select one or more topics.  Once you choose a topic, Alcohol Consequences for example, you will be presented with all indicators related to that topic.  To avoid having to scroll through all indicators, use the Data by Topic feature to search for a specific indicator.

Regions are defined by the Minnesota Department of Human Services' seven Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Prevention Regions.  By clicking on State, you will automatically be transferred to Minnesota’s population statistics.

Data by Demographic allows users to view multiple indicators (or topics) for one specific demographic (Grade, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Age, Sexual Orientation). Once you choose a demographic you will be presented with state and regional population and indicator data for that specific demographic. All of the available data is displayed at first, but you have the option to select however many indicators you would like to view.

Not all demographics have data for all indicators. Further, race/ethnicity is often only available by region, and sexual orientation is only available at the state-level.

**For all three types of searches, when data are displayed by percent, the denominator used is dependent on the demographic chosen. If for a chosen indicator, the value displayed for 9th grade males is 5%, that represents 5% of all 9th grade males for the given location and year. It does not represent 5% of all students for the given location and year. For example, if the indicator is Youth Alcohol Use, then 5% of all 9th grade males who answered that particular Minnesota Student Survey question (for that location and year) reported that they had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days.

Data Sources: A link to the respective data source will appear below each table unless you use the tool bar to “hide” this information.  A fuller description of the data source can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of the page.  Detailed data source descriptions are also available in the Toolbox.

Population Statistics: To find statistics on population size by race and by age, population density, household income and individuals living below the poverty line, use the Data by Location feature.  Once you choose a location, population statistics from the most recent U.S. Census and American Community Survey will be presented.

Tools and Resources:  Use the navigation bar at the very top of each page to view Community Resources, Publications, the Toolbox, or the Gallery.

  • Lists of Community Resources are provided at the state-, region-, and county-level.  You may scroll down, or click on a region link at the top of the page to jump to the resources for that region.  Under each region, counties are listed alphabetically.
  • Publications are arranged by topic, location, and demographic.  Use the tabs at the top to jump directly to a specific section.  Some suggested sites for further reading can be found in multiple sections.  For example, a report on tobacco use among youth would be listed under Topic: Tobacco and under Demographic: Youth. The page includes links to reports, fact sheets, websites, and more.
  • The Toolbox contains materials on navigating and using the SUMN site, interpreting data, reading tables and graphs, calculating rates, understanding time trends, differentiating between cause and correlation, and between percent difference and percent change. Training and technical assistance materials are available related to identifying and prioritizing intervening variables. 
  • The Gallery includes examples of data products created using substance use and mental health data. Examples of reports, fact sheets, issue briefs, posters, PSAs, presentations, videos and more can be viewed. Visit the Gallery to see how you can submit your own community's data products created using SUMN data!

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Toolkits and Trainings

SUMN Toolkit: Warming Up to SUMN Data

These documents are a combined toolkit for getting the most out of -- Minnesota's one-stop-shop for local ATOD data. You can either click here [24mb] for the entire SUMN toolkit or click on the following for each of the individual components of the SUMN toolkit. Within the SUMN Toolkit there are three main components that are the framework of the toolkit; Find Data, Analyze and Interpret Data, and Share Data. Within these are the components that can be downloaded individually listed below.

Find Data: Finding and Using Existing Data

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Analyze and Interpret Data: What do the Data Say?

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Share Data: Presenting Data

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Epidemiological Tools and Topics

Intervening Variables

Intervening variables are factors that have been identified as being strongly related to, and influential in, the occurrence and magnitude of substance use problems and consequences.  Risk and protective factors are types of intervening variables.  Risk factors are individual characteristics and environmental influences associated with an increased vulnerability to the initiation, continuation, or escalation of substance use. Protective factors include individual resilience and other circumstances that are associated with a reduction in the likelihood of substance use (Hawkins & Catalano, 1992).

For each intervening variable listed below, there are a set of local conditions.  Local conditions describe why something is or is not a problem--this is how the intervening variable manifests itself at the local level.  For example, social access/availability is an intervening variable while a related local condition might be alcohol availability at community celebrations.  Local conditions can be monitored and measured using specific indicators.  For the example provided, one specific indicator might be lack of wrist bands for persons under age 21 at community events where alcohol is sold. 

Click on an intervening variable to open a PDF chart listed local conditions for that variable, indicators for each local condition, and potential data sources.

  • Retail Access/Availability: Extent to which alcohol is available for purchase in your community, and how easy it is to purchase

  • Social Access/Availability: Extent to which alcohol can be obtained from friends, associates, family members, or other adults

  • Enforcement: Existence, enforcement, and perception of community, school, worksite, and household policies and laws

  • Promotion/Pricing: Monetary costs of alcohol, extent to which alcohol is promoted, and exposure to promotion

  • Community Norms: Extent to which alcohol use is accepted, or perceived to be accepted

  • Individual Factors: Individuals' behaviors, perceptions, beliefs and knowledge

For more information, view the Program Sharing 2011 session presentation Identifying and Selecting Intervening Variables for Prevention Planning.



This document outlines three tools: Plan, Do, Check, Act; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF); and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Evaluation Framework.
Download the PDF


This glossary of epidemiological terms was distributed to participants of the 2007 Epi Profile Fall Forums.
Download the PDF

Creating Graphs Using Excel

This brief tutorial walks you through the steps of creating a graph using Microsoft Excel, using examples from Substance Use in MN (SUMN).
Download the PDF
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Data Use Tip Sheet

Download the PDF [219 kb]

Analyzing Indicators

Download the PDF [170kb]

Causation vs. Correlation

Download the PDF [104kb]

Percent Change

Download the PDF [81kb]

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Online Training


Wilder Research's evaluATOD website offers a number of self-paced online courses. E-learning module topics include: data collection, data translation, data presentation, evaluation 101, evidence-based practices, and shared risk and protective factors.

Prevention Training

SAMHSA's Collaborative for the Application of Prevention Technologies offers several on-line courses addressing substance abuse prevention.

Public Health

The University of Minnesota School of Public Health offers online training through the Midwest Center for Life-Long Learning. Their training consists of modules related to core public health concepts.

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Best Practices Resources

Marijuana Use Prevention Best Practices Toolkit   

This toolkit was developed with the latest research, for Minnesota college and university campuses, to prevent marijuana use among students. The toolkit is available in PDF format, as individual topic sheets and as one combined document.

Where to Find What Works: Best Practices Resources  


Data Visualization

Data Visualization Tutorials   

Tutorials can help you utilize the various data visualization tools available to communities, which can be used to develop products to present data in compelling and easily-understandable formats.


Data Visualization Tools and Resources    

If you've found data relevant to your community, and you'd like to share this information with stakeholders, there are a number of free and fee-based data visualization tools that can help take your message to the people. The following tools have been used by other substance abuse prevention specialists, and many share examples of past prevention and health promotion projects on their sites.

  • is a free site that will help communities create maps, using either publicly-available data, or (for a fee), the communities' own data. The site also provides guidance and templates for developing community health needs assessments. Their gallery provides glimpses of a wide variety of existing projects.
  • can help create dashboards with interactive mapping software that uses GIS (geographical information system) data. InstantAtlas also provides YouTube instructional videos at
  • Create data visualization products with these web-based platforms:
    •    Platform with free fonts and images to build infographics
    •    Provides templates for presentations
    •    Creates charts and maps for use in presentations, websites, or on social media
    •    Provides templates and themes for infographics
    •    Provides templates for infographics
    •    Create presentations, infographics, and animations