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National data point to opioids' growth as trigger for treatment admissions

December 4, 2015
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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The longstanding influence of the opioid crisis is showing up in the latest national numbers on trends in substance use treatment admissions. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) indicate that while the largest share of publicly funded treatment admissions are associated with alcohol use, admissions for heroin and prescription opioid use are climbing.

Publicly funded admissions involving primarily alcohol use dropped from 42% of all publicly funded admissions in 2003 to 38% in 2013. In the same period, admissions primarily associated with heroin jumped from 15% to 19%, and admissions primarily associated with other opioids besides heroin increased from 3% to 9%.

One drug that saw a steep decline as the primary reason for an admission was cocaine, dropping from 14% in 2003 to 6% in 2013.

Fifty-five percent of individuals admitted for publicly financed treatment in 2013 reported using more than one substance of abuse, SAMHSA stated in its new report, released this week.