Chapter 3
Trends in Client Characteristics

Facility Operation Primary Focus of Facility Type of Care Received
Clients Receiving Methadone or Buprenorphine Substance Abuse Problem Treated Managed Care
Clients under Age 18 in Treatment    

This chapter presents trends in client characteristics for 2003 to 2007.

Table 3.1. The number of clients in treatment on the survey reference date increased by only 4 percent from 2003 to 2007, from 1,092,546 in 2003 to 1,135,425 in 2007.

Facility Operation

Table 3.1 and Figure 5. The proportion of clients in facilities operated by private non-profit organizations remained constant between 2002 and 2006 at 55 to 56 percent, although the total number of clients in these facilities decreased by 2 percent, from 637,835 in 2002 to 623,604 on March 31, 2006. The number and proportion of clients in private for-profit facilities increased by 13 percent, from 291,122 (26 percent of all clients) in 2002 to 328,763 (29 percent of all clients) on March 31, 2006. The proportion of clients in local government-operated facilities fell 21 percent between 2002 and 2006 from 112,820 (10 percent of all clients) to 89,960 (8 percent of all clients). The number of clients in Federal government-operated facilities fell 10 percent, from 40,637 (4 percent of all clients) to 36,660 (3 percent of all clients). The proportions of clients in State and tribal government-operated facilities remained constant between 2002 and 2006, at 4 percent of all clients and 1 percent of all clients, respectively.

Figure 5
Clients in Treatment, by Facility Operation: 2003-2007

Figure 5: Line chart comparing Clients in Treatment, by Facility Operation from 2003 to 2007. Link to accessible data table below.

SOURCE: Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Survey
of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), 2003-2007.

Go to figure data table

Primary Focus of Facility

Table 3.1. In almost all categories of facility primary focus of activity, the proportions of clients in treatment changed very little from 2003 to 2007. Facilities whose primary focus was the provision of substance abuse treatment services treated 68 to 69 percent of all clients between 2003 and 2007. In facilities providing a mix of mental health and substance abuse treatment services, the proportion of clients treated in these facilities increased slightly, from 23 percent in 2003 to 26 percent in 2007. Facilities whose primary focus was the provision of mental health services treated 4 to 5 percent of all clients. Facilities whose primary focus was general health care treated only 1 or 2 percent of all clients.

Type of Care Received

Table 3.2 and Figure 6. The proportions of clients in treatment for the major types of care—outpatient, residential (non-hospital), and hospital inpatient—were stable between 2003 and 2007. Clients in outpatient treatment made up 89 to 90 percent of all clients between 2003 and 2007. The proportion of clients in residential (non-hospital) treatment was between 9 and 10 percent from 2003 to 2007, and about 1 percent of all clients were in hospital inpatient treatment.

Figure 6
Clients in Treatment, by Type of Care Received: 2003-2007

Figure 6: Line chart comparing Clients in Treatment, by Type of Care Received from 2003 to 2007. Link to accessible data table below.

SOURCE: Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Survey
of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), 2003-2007.

Go to figure data table

Clients Receiving Methadone or Buprenorphine

Table 3.2 and Figure 6. Clients receiving methadone or buprenorphine could be in any of the three major types of care—outpatient, residential (non-hospital), or hospital inpatient. Questions asking for the number of clients in treatment receiving buprenorphine were added to the N‑SSATS in 2004.

The proportion of all clients receiving methadone increased slightly between 2003 and 2007, from 21 percent to 23 percent. The proportion of clients receiving buprenorphine was less than 1 percent in every year from 2004 to 2007.

Substance Abuse Problem Treated

Table 3.3. The client substance abuse problem treated fluctuated slightly between 2003 and 2007. Clients in treatment for both drug and alcohol abuse made up 45 to 47 percent of all clients from 2003 to 2007. Clients in treatment for drug abuse only increased slightly but steadily, from 33 percent in 2003 to 36 percent in 2007. The proportion of clients treated for alcohol abuse ranged from 18 to 20 percent between 2003 and 2007.

Managed Care

Table 3.4 and Figure 7. In general, the term “managed care” refers to the prepaid health care sector where care is provided under a fixed budget within which costs are “managed.”
The proportion of clients in facilities with agreements or contracts with managed care organizations fluctuated between 2003 and 2007. However, in 2003, more than half (52 percent) of all clients were in facilities with managed care agreements or contracts; by 2007, this proportion had fallen to 48 percent. The proportions of all clients in these facilities fell between 2003 and 2007 in private non-profit facilities (from 59 to 55 percent), State government-operated facilities (from 45 to 39 percent), and in tribal government-operated facilities (from 34 to 19 percent). The proportions of all clients in facilities with managed care agreements or contracts was about the same in 2003 and 2007 in private for-profit facilities (46 and 44 percent), local government-operated facilities (41 percent in both years), and in Federal government-operated facilities (16 and 17 percent).

Figure 7
Clients in Treatment in Facilities with Managed Care Agreements or Contracts,
by Facility Operation: 2003-2007

Figure 7: Line chart comparing Clients in Treatment in Facilities with Managed Care Agreements or Contracts, by Facility Operation from 2003 to 2007. Link to accessible data table below.

SOURCE: Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Survey
of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), 2003-2007.

Go to figure data table

Clients under Age 18 in Treatment

Table 3.5 and Figure 8. Clients under age 18 made up 8 percent of all clients in every year from 2003 through 2007 [Table 6.3b].

The types of care received by clients under age 18 were also stable between 2003 and 2007. Eighty-seven to 88 percent were in outpatient treatment, 11 to 12 percent were in residential (non-hospital) treatment, and 1 percent were in hospital inpatient treatment.

The proportion of clients under age 18 in treatment facilities with special programs or groups for adolescents ranged from 82 to 85 percent between 2003 and 2007.

Figure 8
Clients under Age 18 and Clients under Age 18 in Treatment in Facilities
Offering Special Programs or Groups for Adolescents: 2003-2007

Figure 8: Line chart comparing Clients under Age 18 and Clients under Age 18 in Treatment in Facilities Offering Special Programs or Groups for Adolescents from 2003 to 2007. Link to accessible data table below.

SOURCE: Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Survey
of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), 2003-2007.

Go to figure data table

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