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Under the Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Amendments of 1988 (P.L. 100-690, Title II, Chapter 2, Section 2052), the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services is authorized to implement data collection activities to ensure the availability of statistical information on the care and treatment of persons with substance abuse problems in the United States. P.L. 100-690 amends Part A of Title V of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 290aa et seq.) by adding a new section on data collection. This section (Sec. 509D) requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, acting through the Administrator of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, to collect annual data on the national incidence and prevalence of the various forms of mental illness and substance abuse and to collect incidence and prevalence data in major metropolitan areas selected by the Administrator. In addition, under this section, the collection of substance abuse data, at a minimum, is to include:

1)the number of individuals admitted to the emergency rooms of hospitals as a result of the abuse of alcohol and other drugs;

2)the number of deaths occurring as a result of substance abuse, as indicated in reports by coroners;

3)the number and variety of public and private nonprofit treatment programs, including the number and type of patient slots available;

4)the number of individuals seeking treatment through such programs, the number and demographic characteristics of individuals receiving such treatment, the percentage of individuals who complete such programs, and, with respect to individuals receiving such treatment, the length of time between an individualís request for treatment and the commencement of treatment;

5)the number of such individuals who return for treatment after the completion of a prior treatment in such programs and the method of treatment utilized during the prior treatment;

6)the number of individuals receiving public assistance for such treatment programs;

7)the costs of the different types of treatment modalities for drug and alcohol abuse and the aggregate relative costs of each such treatment modality provided within a State in each fiscal year;

8)to the extent of available information, the number of individuals receiving treatment for alcohol or drug abuse who have private insurance coverage for the costs of such treatment;

9)the extent of alcohol and drug abuse among high school students and among the general population; and

10)the number of alcohol and drug abuse counselors and other substance abuse treatment personnel employed in public and private treatment facilities."

The intent of Congress is to ensure, through P.L. 100-690, the availability of data about the use of Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Mental Health Services Block Grant funds by States in providing services for individuals with substance abuse problems. Further, it is to provide answers to questions about the treatment programs funded, the numbers and types of patients treated, the services they receive, and the effectiveness of the programs. (Reference: House of Representatives Report 100-927, Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Amendments Act of 1988, page 40).

A number of data sources, including existing surveys as well as new studies, are required to address the various data requirements of Section 509D. One of the new initiatives designed to address issues concerning characteristics of treatment clients is the development of a national minimum data set for individuals admitted for the treatment of alcohol and/or drug abuse problems.

This page was last updated on June 16, 2008