Mixing alcohol and drug abuse data

Although the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Office of Applied Studies (OAS) reports a drop in people treated for alcohol or drug abuse in 2003, officials warn not to conclude substance abuse is less a problem. "The drop occurred primarily because of a significant decline in admissions for alcohol abuse," the AP story reports. The data was collected in 2003 from publicly funded treatment centers and notes not only a decrease in alcohol related cases but a five-fold increase from 1993 in cases relating to methamphetamine abuse. According to the news story, officials surmise that lower alcohol treatment figures may actually reflect states shifting funds from treatment of alcohol cases to drug cases. SAMHSA administrator Charles Curie says, "Clearly, from the data, fewer people are in treatment for alcohol as their primary drug of abuse. The majority of people come to treatment with more than one drug of abuse, and alcohol may well be one of them."

Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) Highlights: 2003
(available in PDF, 320K, from OAS)


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