New Data Shows a Shift in Targets of Drug Treatment


Prescription drugs, methamphetamine and marijuana are sending more people than ever into drug treatment, according to new federal data that also reflect how criminal sentencing policies have dramatically increased the number of drug users in treatment. The data indicate that alcohol remains by far the most common reason for substance abuse treatment, reports USA Today. However, alcohol abuse was a factor in only 40% of the roughly 1.9 million admissions to U.S. treatment centers in 2004, down from 53% of the nearly 1.7 million admissions a decade earlier.

The more recent numbers show a broadening in the variety of addictions. The number of addicts seeking treatment for abusing prescription opiates such as OxyContin remained relatively small – 63,243 in 2004 – but was up 62% from three years earlier, the report says. Prescription drug abusers accounted for about 3% of those in treatment in 2004, triple the percentage of a decade earlier. Meanwhile, the number of meth addicts jumped 57% from 2001. Meth addicts made up 7% of those in treatment in 2004.


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