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SAMHSA News Release

Date: 2/7/2012 12:05 AM
Media Contact: SAMHSA Press Office
Telephone: 240-276-2130

Nearly half of all substance abuse treatment admissions involving college students were primarily for treating alcohol disorders

New report shows college students have a significantly higher rate of treatment admissions for alcohol problems than their non-student counterparts

A new report shows that nearly half (46.6 percent) of all substance abuse treatment admissions involving college or other post secondary school students ages 18 to 24 were primarily related to alcohol disorders. The rate of primary alcohol-related treatment admissions is far higher among college students than for non-college students in the same age bracket (46.6 percent versus 30.6 percent) according to this new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“This report confirms the pervasive and potentially devastating role that alcohol plays on far too many college campuses,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “Other SAMHSA studies have shown that one in four full-time college students have experienced past year alcohol abuse or dependence. SAMHSA is working with the academic community and its partners in behavioral health to help students prevent exposure to the dangers of alcohol misuse and encourage those who have a problem to seek treatment.”

The SAMHSA report shows that in 2009 there were 12,000 treatment admissions involving college students. While the rate of college student treatment admissions linked primarily to alcohol was far higher than for non-college students, both groups had similar admission rates for primary marijuana-related problems – 30.9 percent for college students versus 30 percent for non-college students. 

College students had lower rates of treatment admissions than nonstudents their age for other types of primary substance abuse such as:

·         Heroin – 7.2 percent for college students versus 16.1 percent for nonstudents

·         Other opiates– 8.3 percent for college students versus 10.5 percent for nonstudents

·         Cocaine – 1.9 percent for college students versus 4.2 percent for nonstudents

·         Methamphetamine – 1 percent for college students versus 4.4 percent for nonstudents

For those seeking help with a substance abuse problem SAMHSA offers an on-line treatment locator service that can be accessed at www.samhsa.gov/treatment or by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Valuable information about the prevention and treatment of alcohol use and misuse by college students is available at: http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov .

The report Data Spotlight: Nearly Half of College Student Admissions Were for Alcohol Abuse, is based on SAMHSA’s 2009 Treatment Episode Data Set(TEDS). The TEDS report collects and analyzes reports by thousands of substance abuse treatment facilities throughout the nation. TEDS is an administrative data system that indicates the national flow of admissions to specialty providers of substance abuse treatment. This report is available on the web at: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/spotlight/Spotlight054College2012.pdf. For related publications and information visit the SAMHSA website at www.samhsa.gov .


SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.



Last updated: 2/7/2012 8:21 AM

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