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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
September/October 2008, Volume 16, Number 5 

photo of hallway with a sign for a repeated admissions line

First-Time Versus Repeat Admissions

Maintaining recovery from substance use disorders can be a challenge. Often, people relapse into old habits after a period of staying away from drugs or alcohol.

A new SAMHSA report describes how individuals who are re-admitted to treatment (repeat admissions) often exhibit different substance use and characteristics than individuals admitted to treatment for the first time.

The report, First-Time and Repeat Admissions Aged 18 to 25 to Substance Abuse Treatment: 2006, examines the characteristics of 18- to 25-year-old substance abuse treatment admissions, the age group that makes up nearly a quarter (22 percent) of all admissions in 2006.

Information cited in the report comes from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), an annual compilation of data on the demographic characteristics and substance abuse problems of those admitted to treatment.

TEDS is part of the Drug and Alcohol Services Information System, the primary source of national information on the services available for substance abuse treatment and the characteristics of admitted individuals.

Abused Substances

In 2006, repeat admissions age 18 to 25 were more likely than first-time admissions of the same age to report heroin and other opiates as the primary substance of abuse (27 versus 12 percent). Repeat admissions also were more likely to report the use of multiple substances (67 versus 56 percent).

Repeat admissions age 18 to 25, however, were less likely than first-time admissions to report alcohol (26 versus 35 percent) or marijuana (22 versus 28 percent) as the primary substance of abuse. The proportion of admissions in this age group reporting marijuana as their primary substance decreased with increasing age.

Geographic Characteristics

The majority of admissions age 18 to 25 to substance abuse treatment in the northeast (61 percent) and midwest (52 percent) were repeat admissions in 2006. However, less than one-third (31 percent) of treatment admissions of the same age in the south and less than half (40 percent) in the west were repeat admissions.

Treatment histories for admissions age 18 to 25 varied by region. The south was unlike any other region in that a majority of all admissions in this age group were first-time instead of repeat admissions, regardless of primary substance of abuse.

In contrast, the midwest showed similar proportions of first-time and repeat admissions among those age 18 to 25 reporting primary alcohol or marijuana abuse, but admissions of the same age reporting primary cocaine, heroin and other opiates, or stimulant abuse were predominantly repeat admissions.

In the northeast, the majority of 18- to 25-year-old admissions reporting primary cocaine, heroin and other opiates, or stimulant abuse were repeat admissions.

Other Findings

In 2006, the average age of first use was younger for repeat substance abuse treatment admissions age 18 to 25 than for first-time admissions the same age. Depending on the primary substance of abuse, the difference ranged from 5 to 14 months.

Overall, repeat and first-time admissions in the 18- to 25-year-old age group were almost equally likely to have private types of health insurance.

However, first-time admissions between 18 and 25 years of age were consistently more likely than repeat admissions of the same age to report having no health insurance. Overall, 65 percent of first-time admissions age 18 to 25 reported having no health insurance compared with 59 percent of repeat admissions of the same age.

First-Time and Repeat Admissions Aged 18 to 25 to Substance Abuse Treatment: 2006 is available on SAMHSA's Web site.


Grant Awards Announced

SAMHSA recently announced grant awards for programs related to children's mental health, suicide, drug-free communities, and others.

Grant Awards Update

  National Survey on Drug Use  
  and Health  

Youth Substance Use Declines

From the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, new national data show a drop in illicit drug use among youth and an increase in adult prescription drug misuse.

image of part of a bar chart

Drugs and Youth: Chart Shows 2002 to 2007 Data

Marijuana, cocaine—changes in use of selected illicit drugs among youth, 2002 versus 2007.

logo for National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month

Recovery Month Testimonials

Two people relate their personal stories of addiction, recovery, and hope.

  Mental Health  
photo of a hand holding a pen to paper

Making Mental Health Services Accessible

Can primary care doctors help with mental health problems? New strategies to overcome barriers associated with reimbursement.

the letter i depicted as an icon representing a friend to lean on

Pros and Cons of Self-Disclosure

What are the risks and benefits of revealing a mental health problem to friends or coworkers?

photo of a boy pointing and a girl laughing

Bullying: Starting the Conversation

Bullies are out there—SAMHSA resources can help parents and educators address the problem.

  Substance Abuse  
photo of people sitting in a circle

Mutual Support Groups: Fact Sheet for Providers

What do you know about mutual support groups? Providers can help connect clients with groups that help people achieve recovery.

photo of a sign reading “Repeated Admissions Start Line Here”

First-Time Versus Repeat Admissions

New SAMHSA data reveal characteristics of first-time and repeat admissions to substance abuse treatment.

SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices

Registry Posts 100th Evidence-Based Practice

NREPP reaches a milestone—find out how the Registry can link communities to interventions specific to their needs.

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Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration – 1 Choke Cherry Road - Rockville, MD 20857
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