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Article Summary

Treatment Admissions on the Rise

Treatment Admissions for Meth, Prescription Drug and Marijuana Abuse Rising

Problems with alcohol as a primary substance of abuse accounted for 40 percent of the 1.8 million admissions in 2006 for substance abuse treatment in the United States according to a report based on the latest nationwide survey of treatment facilities. Yet this percentage of admissions for alcohol abuse treatment is markedly lower than the 51 percent share it represented in 1996.

TEDS Report

The Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) 2006 Highlights report, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also reveals that over the same 10 year period the percentages of admissions for methamphetamine, prescription drug and marijuana abuse rose.

The percentage of treatment admissions primarily due to methamphetamine/amphetamine abuse is relatively small, but nearly tripled from 3 percent in 1996 to 9 percent in 2006. The criminal justice system was the principal source of referral for 55 percent of all the treatment admissions for methamphetamine/amphetamine abuse.

Although the percentage of treatment admissions for primary heroin abuse is at about the same level it was a decade ago (14 percent), the percent of treatment admissions for other opiates ? mainly misused prescription pain killers ? increased from 1 percent in 1996 to 4 percent in 2006.

Similarly the proportion of admissions for primary marijuana abuse increased from 12 percent in 1996 to 16 percent in 2006. The average age of those admitted primarily for marijuana treatment was significantly younger (age 24) than the average age for all substance abuse treatment admissions (age 34).

"The TEDS report shows the variation in substance abuse treatment admissions over the years, including the recent increases in methamphetamine, prescription pain killers and marijuana," said SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline, Ph.D. "States and local providers can use the report to anticipate and plan for capacity needed to address emerging needs."

John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy said, "While most of those who are dependent on illegal drugs are in denial, the good news is that more than one million Americans are receiving treatment each year and have started down the road to recovery. They deserve our respect for having the courage to come forward and seek help. As overall drug use among young people continues to decline in America, we hope that more Americans will encourage friends and family members who are using drugs to seek treatment and help make our national drug problem even smaller."

The TEDS 2006 Highlights Report is the latest in a series of yearly reports providing demographic and other information substance abuse treatment admissions from state licensed treatment facilities (most of them publicly-funded) across the country. Although it does not include information on all treatment admissions, it is the largest, most comprehensive study of its kind and provides a vast array of specialized data on the characteristics of substance abuse treatment in the United States.

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