Need Treatment? Many Young Adults Say No
Nearly 7 million Americans age 18 to 25 were classified as needing treatment in the past year for alcohol or illicit drug use, according to a new SAMHSA report. But 93 percent of these young adults did not receive the help they needed at a specialty treatment facility.
Young Adults’ Need for and Receipt of Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use Treatment: 2007 focuses on the alcohol and illicit drug use treatment needs of young adults (people age 18 to 25) and on the difference between the number who need treatment and those who actually receive it.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) classifies people as needing treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use if they met the criteria for dependence or abuse or if they received specialty treatment in the past year.
The report points out that the gap between treatment need and receipt may be due to the gap in the perception of need. The vast majority (96 percent) of young adults needing but not receiving specialized treatment for substance use problems did not think they needed help.
Even among the 4 percent of young adults who thought they needed specialized help in the past year but who had not received it, less than one-third (32.2 percent) made any attempt to get treatment.
Among young adults, 17.2 percent needed treatment for alcohol disorders in the past year, 8.4 percent for illicit drug disorders and 4.4 percent for a combination of alcohol and illicit drug disorders.
This data may provide insights into opportunities for education, prevention, and treatment. Increased prevention efforts targeted at this age group could not only reduce prevalence, but could also help people recognize dependence and access the help that is available.
Read the full report online in PDF or HTML format.