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SAMHSA News - July/August 2008, Volume 16, Number 4


Discharges from Treatment: Latest Report Released

A new SAMHSA report, Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) 2005: Discharges from Substance Abuse Treatment Services, is shedding new light on treatment completion rates, length of stay, and characteristics of approximately 1.5 million discharges from alcohol or drug treatment facilities.

This report, the latest in a series of yearly updates, provides overall figures for the 34 states that report discharge data to TEDS.

It also breaks this information down into a variety of criteria—including client characteristics and length of stay—that can help provide greater perspective on the experiences of those who have undergone substance abuse treatment.

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Notable Findings

The largest age groups among all treatment discharges were age 31 to 40 (29 percent), age 21 to 30 (26 percent), and age 41 to 50 (25 percent). Fourteen percent were under age 21. However, the most common group for initiating use of their primary substance was between 15 and 17 years.

Alcohol was the most common primary substance, reported by 39 percent of discharges. The strongest predictor of treatment completion was the use of alcohol rather than other drugs. Clients discharged from all types of service combined were 82 percent more likely to complete treatment or transfer to further treatment if their primary substance was alcohol, after taking into account all other characteristics.

The treatment completion rate was highest among clients discharged from hospital residential treatment (67 percent), detoxification (65 percent), and short-term residential treatment (56 percent). Treatment completion rates were lower in longer-term and less-structured settings.

Not counting discharges receiving opioid replacement therapy (methadone), the median length of stay in treatment was greatest for discharges from outpatient treatment (76 days), followed by long-term residential treatment (53 days) and intensive outpatient treatment (46 days).

The report presents data on the reasons for discharge for 592,057 clients in outpatient treatment in 2005 in 33 states (see chart below).

Reasons clients left treatment:

  • Completed treatment (36 percent)

  • Dropped out of treatment (29 percent)

  • Transferred to further treatment (12 percent)

  • Had treatment terminated by the facility (11 percent)

  • Failed to complete for other reasons (12 percent).

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Why Patients Leave Outpatient Treatment

chart showing top reasons why patients leave outpatient treatment - click to view text only versiond
Source: SAMHSA Office of Applied Studies. Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS): 2005. Discharges from Substance Abuse Treatment Services. Data received through October 3, 2006. Figure 3.1. Reason for discharge from outpatient treatment. February 2008. (The chart does not show discharges for intensive outpatient treatment.)

TEDS is an episode-based system, and its figures for discharges do not directly correspond to the number of individuals discharged from treatment programs in a given year. For example, one individual who had undergone treatment twice during the same year would be counted as two discharges in the TEDS report.

To access the TEDS 2005 discharges report online, visit wwwdasis.samhsa.gov/teds05/tedsd2k5index.htm. For a print copy, contact SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727) or 1-800-487-4889 (TDD). Request inventory number SMA08-4314. End of Article

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Inside This Issue
Homelessness Services: Web 2.0 Connects Providers Online
Part 1
Part 2
What Is Web 2.0?
Homelessness Initiatives


Returning Veterans National Guard Focuses on Mental Health, Substance Abuse

Vets Suicide Hotline Helps 55,000+ in First Year



HHS Secretary Taps Administrator for New Post

Administrator’s Message: To a Healthy Future

Recovery Month: Communities Gear Up for September

Update: Directory of Treatment Programs

Treatment Discharges: Latest Report

Sustaining Grassroots Community Programs

Teens and Substance Use
Parent Awareness of Youth Substance Abuse Varies
Underage Drinking: What Parents Need To Know
Tobacco Sales to Minors at All-Time Low

Smoke-Free Conference Policy

About SAMHSA

SAMHSA News - July/August 2008, Volume 16, Number 4