Treatment Admissions Increase for Alcohol, Prescription Drug Abuse
A new government study shows that more people are getting treatment for prescription drug abuse than they were ten years ago, and alcohol treatment is increasing after declining for several years.
The report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that the number of patients being treated for opiates other than heroin (such as the prescription painkiller OxyContin) increased from 1 percent of all substance abuse admissions in 1999 to 7 percent in 2009. Opiate-based prescription drugs accounted for 33 percent of opiate admissions in 2009, compared to 8 percent in 1999.
The amount of patients seeking treatment for alcohol abuse declined from 48 percent in 1999 to 39 percent in 2005, but has been increasing since then. In 2009, alcohol treatment accounted for 44 percent of treatment admissions.
Deborah Trunzo, SAMHSA statistician, said the percentage of alcohol admissions had been on the decline since the early ’90s but that researchers don’t know what was responsible for the recent increase.
Marijuana accounted for 18 percent of admissions in 2009, compared to 13 percent in 1999, and accounted for 86 percent of admissions among adolescents as a primary or secondary substance of abuse. Forty-nine percent of adolescents were referred to treatment through the criminal justice system.
Admissions for cocaine addiction treatment declined from 14 percent in 1999 to 9 percent in 2009. Heroin addiction treatment admissions also declined, from 15 percent in 1999 to 14 percent in 2009.
Two-thirds of heroin addiction admissions and 74% of marijuana admissions were male. Men accounted for about 54 percent of prescription drug abuse treatment admissions.
Trunzo said that even though the numbers also suggest a growth in substance abuse, the increase in the number of people seeking treatment is a good thing, as people are getting help.
Source: USA Today, Jonathan Shorman, Treatment up for prescription drug, alcohol abuse, June 24, 2011