More Addiction Patients Seeking Drug Abuse Help


A new study shows that more of the people in rehab facilities are getting help for drug abuse than in the past. The percentage of patients who received treatment for alcohol abuse declined in 2006, while the ratio of patients seeking drug treatment rose.

This information comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). They recently released their newest report about addiction treatment in the United States, called the Treatment Episode Data Set. This is the largest national study of rehab facilities.

In 1996, 51 percent of admissions to addiction treatment programs were for patients with alcohol as the primary substance of abuse. By 2006, that number had fallen noticeably to 40 percent. This includes 1.8 million people involved in some type of addiction treatment.

While alcohol abuse is still the most common reason people seek help, the percentages for drug treatment admissions are rising. More of the patients are entering rehab programs for marijuana, prescription drugs, and meth abuse.

The biggest rate of increase was in people getting help primarily for abuse of opiates other than heroin, which includes mostly prescription pain killers. It quadrupled from only 1 percent in 1996 to 4 percent in 2006. Admissions for heroin addiction treatment have remained relatively stable at 14 percent.

The percentage of people seeking meth addiction treatment during the ten years also increased significantly, starting at 3 percent in 1996 and rising to 9 percent in 2006 According to SAMHSA, a little over half of these patients were referred to treatment for meth by the legal system.

In 1996, the amount of people in treatment programs who had a primary problem of marijuana abuse was 12 percent. This statistic also increased to 16 percent in 2006. Marijuana abuse patients had an average age of 24 years, which is ten years younger than the overall average age of people who enter rehab programs.