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One in Five Young Adults Need Treatment for Substance Abuse

A new study shows that nearly 7 million Americans aged 18 to 25 (more than one in five young adults) needed treatment for drug or alcohol use in the last year. The study, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also shows that 95 percent of these young adults did not receive the help they needed at a treatment facility. These levels have remained fairly stable since 2002.

In addition, 96 percent of the young adults needing help did not believe they needed help. Even among the 4 percent who thought they needed treatment in the last year but did not receive it, less than one third made any attempt to get treatment.

Out of 22,187 young adults, 17.2 percent needed treatment for alcohol disorders in the past year, 18.4 percent needed help for illicit drug abuse, and 4.4 percent needs help for both alcohol and drug abuse.

The report also reveals substantial differences among young adults receiving specialized treatment in terms of their medical health insurance coverage. Those covered by Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) were more than three times more likely to receive treatment for alcohol or drug use in a specialty facility than those with private insurance (13.2 percent versus 4 percent). Those without insurance or with other forms of insurance also received more treatment than those with private insurance (10.6 percent versus 8.7 percent).

“Substance use disorders are preventable and treatable yet we continue as a nation to allow the lives of 1 in 5 young people and their families be torn apart by substance abuse,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator, Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H. “As a nation we must redouble our efforts to prevent substance abuse in the first place and ensure treatment is available to those in need.”

Posted on July 2nd, 2009
Posted in Young Adults

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