A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides insight into the nature and scope of substance use and mental illness issues affecting America.
Today, 2013 national survey data as well as information on the efforts and resources being taken to address these problems is being released in conjunction with the 25th annual observance of National Recovery Month.
The report shows that 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users – 9.4 percent of this age group.
Marijuana was by far the most commonly used illicit drug with approximately 19.8 million current users aged 12 and older.
In terms of other illicit drugs, the report indicates that among those aged 12 and older, there were 4.5 million current nonmedical users of prescription pain relievers (1.7 percent), 1.5 million current cocaine users (0.6 percent), 595,000 methamphetamine users (0.2 percent), and 289,000 current heroin users (0.1 percent). Although an estimated 22.7 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem, only 2.5 million persons received treatment at a specialty facility.
The SAMHSA report also shows that 34.6 million adults aged 18 or older (14.6 percent of the population aged 18 or older) received mental health treatment or counseling during the past 12 months. Nearly one in five American adults (18.5 percent), or 43.8 million adults, had a mental illness in 2013. Ten million adults (4.2 percent of the adult population) had a serious mental illness in the past year. Serious mental illness is defined as mental illness that resulted in serious functional impairment, which substantially interfered with, or limited, one or more major life activities.
"As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Recovery Month our nation can be proud of the strides made in successfully promoting the power of recovery from mental and substance use disorders," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. "However, throughout our nation thousands still needlessly suffer the ravages of untreated substance use and mental disorders. We must reach out to all people with unmet need so that they can return to lives full of hope, well-being, and fulfillment."
"This Administration's approach to drug policy is rooted in the knowledge that substance use disorders are diseases that can be prevented, treated, and from which people can recover," said Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy. "The recovery movement has come a long way in 25 years, and people in recovery deserve an official voice at all levels of government. We must continue to use that voice to share our triumphs and our challenges, and show the world that millions of us are leading happy, healthy, productive lives in long-term recovery. Each recovery story we tell chips away at the misconceptions that keep someone struggling with an addictive disorder from asking for help."
Those seeking help for mental and/or substance use disorders have many resources to turn to for help. You can access NCADD's Help section by clicking here. NCADD Affiliates can also help. Check those Affiliates close to you by clicking here.
Or, you can check out SAMHSA's Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator or by calling1-800 662 HELP (4357) can provide immediate round-the-clock information on treatment programs for mental and/or substance use disorders throughout the nation.