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SAMHSA News - March/April, Volume 14, Number 2

New Treatment Reports Highlight Retirees, Youth

SAMHSA's continued analysis of the 2003 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) on trends in treatment admissions for alcohol and drug use across the Nation generated two recent reports—one on retirees in treatment for alcohol use and one on "first use" of drugs by youth.

Part of SAMHSA's Drug and Alcohol Services Information System (DASIS), TEDS is a compilation of data on the demographic and substance abuse characteristics of admissions to (and more recently, on discharges from) substance abuse treatment. This involves data reported by the 50 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico over the 12-month period of a calendar year.


Retired Admissions: 2003 is a new SAMHSA report that examines substance abuse treatment admissions among retired persons.

TEDS data from 29 states and other jurisdictions indicate that 4 out of 5 current retirees in substance abuse treatment needed treatment for alcohol as their primary substance of abuse in 2003. This is a far higher proportion reporting alcohol (80 percent of retirees in treatment) than for all other admissions to treatment in these states (44 percent).

More than half of all states across the Nation reported data on retirees. Only 5 percent of retirees in treatment in the 29 states and jurisdictions reported use of opiates—either heroin or prescription narcotic pain medications—as their primary substance of abuse, compared to 13 percent of other admissions.

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Drug Use Before Age 13

The age when people first use drugs is considered an important marker in efforts to control drug abuse. According to SAMHSA's 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), adults who first used substances at a younger age were more likely to be classified with dependence or abuse than adults who began use at a later age.

Age of First Use among Admissions for Drugs: 1993 and 2003 is a new SAMHSA report that looks at age of first use among TEDS admissions for drugs other than alcohol. Up to three substances may be reported in TEDS as being used at the time of admission. The report classifies admissions according to the earliest age at which use began for any of the drugs reported.

The average age of first use among admissions for drug use showed a slight decrease, from age 18.8 in 1993 to age 18.6 in 2003. Between 1993 and 2003, the average age of first use was unchanged among admissions younger than age 18 (age 12.8) and decreased among all other age groups.

For a copy of the reports, visit SAMHSA's Web site at

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