Substance Abuse Treatment Has Changed Significantly

Substance abuse treatment can help people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol recover from their addictions and lead a successfully sober life. Substance abuse treatment centers can treat people who are addicted to either drugs and alcohol, or to both substances at the same time.

A new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has found significant changes in the patterns of substance abuse treatment between 1998 and 2008. Here are some of the findings of the report:
•    The number of treatment admissions for co-occurring drug and alcohol addictions dropped from 44 percent in 1998 to 38 percent in 2008.
•    The number of treatment admissions for drug abuse increased from 26 percent to 37 percent during that time, while the number of admissions for alcohol abuse decreased from 27 percent to 23 percent.
•    Admissions for opiate addiction increased from 16 percent to 20 percent.
•    Marijuana admissions increased from 13 percent to 17 percent.
•    Admissions for stimulant addiction increased from 4 percent to 6 percent.
•    Cocaine admissions decreased from 15 percent to 11 percent.
•    The use of two or more psychoactive drugs in combination was reported by 55 percent of all people admitted to substance abuse treatment in 2008.
Alcohol, Opiates Primary Substances of Abuse

According to the SAMHSA study, alcohol and opiates are often the primary reason people are admitted to substance abuse treatment. We have written much about the phenomenon of OxyContin addiction on this blog and the rampant abuse of opiates that we are seeing in our intake center.

Alcohol, of course, is the most commonly abused substance to this day, for many reasons (like the fact that it is legal and available everywhere). Per the SAMHSA study, of the 61 percent of treatment admissions for alcohol abuse, 41 percent deemed alcohol as their primary substance of abuse. Of the 27 percent of admissions for opiate abuse, 20 percent deemed opiates their primary substance of abuse.

Findings on Adolescent Treatment Admissions

SAMHSA’s survey discovered the following statistics about adolescent substance abuse treatment:

•    Admissions for teens ages 12 to 17 increased by 13 percent between 1998 and 2002 but dropped 10 percent between 2002 and 2008.
•    About 80 percent of teens admitted to substance abuse treatment used marijuana as their primary or secondary substance.
•    Nearly half of teens were referred to drug treatment through the criminal justice system.

“This survey provides valuable insight into the changing nature and source of substance abuse treatment admissions,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “It can guide us in developing more effective treatment programs and better approaches within healthcare systems for identifying and engaging those who may need help for substance abuse disorders — help that if given in time can make a critical difference in a person’s recovery.”