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The Treatment of Juvenile Drug Use

In 2005, there were 2.1 million youths aged 12 to 17 (8.3% of this population) who needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem. Of this group, only 181,000 youths received treatment at a specialty facility (8.6% of youths who needed treatment), leaving 1.9 million youths who needed treatment for a substance use problem but did not receive it at a specialty facility. "Specialty" treatment is defined as treatment received at any of the following types of facilities: hospitals (inpatient only), drug/alcohol rehabilitation facilities (inpatient or outpatient), or mental health centers. It does not include treatment at an emergency room, private doctor's office, self-help group, prison or jail, or hospital as an outpatient.

During 2005, approximately 7.9% of the drug/alcohol admissions to treatment facilities in the U.S. involved individuals ages 17 and younger. Approximately 67% of the total (all ages) admissions to treatment in 2005 reported first using a drug at age 18 or younger. Among the individuals ages 15 and younger admitted to treatment during 2005, 56.5% were being treated for primary abuse of marijuana.

Juvenile Treatment Admissions, by Primary Drug, 2005

Drug Type Under 15 15–17
Alcohol 6.9% 6.6%
Alcohol w/secondary drug 8.0 12.1
Heroin 0.3 1.0
Other opiates 0.4 0.9
Cocaine—smoked 0.5 0.9
Cocaine—other route 0.7 1.9
Marijuana 56.5 65.0
Meth./amphetamine 3.3 6.6
Other stimulants 0.1 0.1
Tranquilizers 0.2 0.3
Sedatives 0.2 0.2
Hallucinogens 0.1 0.3
PCP <0.05 0.1
Inhalants 0.9 0.2
Other/none specified 21.9 3.8

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