Chapter 5

Client Characteristics

Facility Operation and Primary Focus
Type of Care
Substance Abuse Problem and Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders
Clients Under Age 18

This chapter describes key characteristics of the 1,192,490 clients in substance abuse treatment on March 31, 2008. Clients in treatment were defined as: 1) hospital inpatient and residential (non-hospital) clients receiving substance abuse treatment services on March 31, 2008, and 2) outpatient clients who were seen at the facility for a substance abuse treatment or detoxification service at least once during the month of March 2008, and who were still enrolled in treatment on March 31, 2008.

Facility Operation and Primary Focus

Table 5.1. Facilities were asked to designate the type of entity responsible for the operation of the facility. They were also asked to designate the facility’s primary focus of activity.

    • Private non-profit organizations
    • Private for-profit organizations
    • Local, county, or community governments
    • Federal government1
    • State gov­ernments
    • Tribal governments

53 percent
30 percent
7 percent
5 percent
4 percent
1 percent

    • Substance abuse treatment services
    • Mix of substance abuse treatment and mental health services
    • Mental health services
    • General health care
    • Other and unknown focus

67 percent
27 percent
4 percent
2 percent
1 percent


1 Percentages do not sum to 100 percent because of rounding.
2 Data for the Federal agencies specified in the survey (the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, the Indian Health Service, and other unspecified Federal agencies) are detailed in the tables.

Type of Care

Tables 5.2a, 5.2b, and 5.2c. The 2008 N-SSATS requested the number of clients in treatment on March 31, 2008, who received specified subcategories of type of care within three broad categories.

    • Outpatient treatment
      • Regular outpatient care
      • Outpatient methadone/buprenorphine maintenance
      • Intensive outpatient treatment
      • Outpatient treatment/day hospitalization
      • Outpatient detoxification
    • Residential (non-hospital) treatment
      • Long-term treatment (more than 30 days)
      • Short-term treatment (30 days or fewer)
      • Detoxification
    • Hospital inpatient treatment

90 percent
54 percent
22 percent
11 percent
2 percent
1 percent
9 percent
6 percent
2 percent
1 percent
1 percent

Substance Abuse Problem and Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders

Table 5.3. The 2008 N-SSATS requested the proportions of clients in treatment on March 31, 2008, by substance abuse problem treated (alcohol only, drug abuse, or both alcohol and drug abuse).

The 2008 N-SSATS also requested the proportion of clients in treatment with diagnosed co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Clients Under Age 18

There were 86,465 clients under age 18 in substance abuse treatment on March 31, 2008, some 7 percent of the total 1,192,490 clients in treatment on that date.

Table 5.4. Clients under age 18 in substance abuse treatment on March 31, 2008, were more likely to be in private non-profit facilities than the general client population (63 vs. 53 percent, respectively) [Table 5.1]. Private for-profit facilities accounted for 30 percent of all clients in treatment but only 22 percent of clients under age 18.

Fifty-four percent of clients under age 18 were in facilities with a primary focus of substance abuse treatment, compared to 67 percent of all clients. More than one third (39 percent) of clients under age 18 were in facilities whose focus was provision of a mix of substance abuse treatment and mental health services compared to 27 percent of the total client population.

Table 5.5. The proportion of adolescents receiving each type of care was similar to the total treatment population [Table 5.2b]. Most (88 percent) were in outpatient treatment, 11 percent were in residential (non-hospital) treatment, and 1 percent were in hospital inpatient treatment.

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