Report shows notable changes in substance use treatment admissions over past decade

Proportion of primarily alcohol-related admissions drops while the proportion of primarily heroin and prescription opioid–related admissions rises.
Thursday, December 3, 2015

A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that, overall, the number of admissions reported among Americans aged 12 and older for publically funded substance use treatment has declined slightly from 2003 to 2013 (from 1,865,145 admissions in 2003 to 1,683,451 admissions in 2013). Additionally, the report reveals that there have been notable changes in the proportion of admissions associated with various substances of abuse.

For example, although admissions associated primarily with alcohol use still remain the largest proportion of admissions, it has dropped from 42 percent in 2003 to 38 percent in 2013. During this same period, the proportion of admissions primarily associated with heroin use rose from 15 percent in 2003 to 19 percent in 2013. The proportion of admissions associated primarily with non-heroin opioid use increased from 3 percent in 2003 to 9 percent in 2013.

The report found that the proportion of admissions primarily associated with marijuana use remained fairly steady throughout this period – 16 percent in 2003 and 17 percent in 2013. Also, the proportion of admissions primarily associated with methamphetamine/amphetamines ranged from 6 to 9 percent of admissions between 2003 and 2013.

The proportion of admissions associated with cocaine use (including crack use) declined from 14 percent in 2003 to 6 percent in 2013.

More than half of all treatment admissions in 2013 (55 percent) reported using more than one substance of abuse.

“Whether people are struggling with alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit substances, seeking help is a critical step toward achieving recovery,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Kana Enomoto. “Time and again, research has demonstrated that treatment helps people with substance use disorders to regain their lives. As with other life-threatening conditions, this step can be the difference between life and death. We need to encourage people to seek help. Treatment works. People recover."

SAMHSA is working to broaden awareness about the benefits of treatment for heroin use – including medication assisted treatment – which has been shown to help people move toward recovery. SAMHSA’s Targeted Capacity Expansion-Medication Assisted Treatment Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction grant program aims to expand access to medication assisted treatment along with counseling and psychosocial and recovery support services, in communities hard hit by heroin and prescription misuse.

The report’s findings are drawn from the 2013 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) which is available at:

TEDS is a compilation of data collected through the individual data collection systems of the state substance abuse agencies (SSAs) for substance abuse treatment.

For general information about SAMHSA, please visit:

For more information, contact the SAMHSA Press Office at 240-276-2130.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

Last Updated: 12/03/2015