Young Adults Need Help with Substance Addiction

Americans 18-25 are at high risk for drug and alcohol use and many need treatment, so why aren’t they getting help?

It’s no surprise that teens and young adults are at particular risk for alcohol and drug use. As a result, they are warned about these vices from an early age with parents, teachers and counselors being prepped on how to address the issue. Still, a new national study shows that more than one in five young adults is in need of treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use.


Young Adults Not Getting Needed Drug and Alcohol Treatment

The study, undertaken by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), also showed that less than one in 10 young adults in need of this treatment receives it. Nearly 7 million Americans aged 18-25 were classified as needing treatment in the past year for alcohol or illicit drug use. That may be an alarming statistic, but even more frightening is the fact that 93 percent of these young adults did not receive the help they needed at a specialty treatment facility. Despite all the anti-drug and alcohol messages out there, these levels have remained relatively stable since 2002.

Young people are more likely to feel invincible and not see the long-term risks of drug or alcohol use, which may explain why the study showed that the vast majority (96 percent) of young adults needing but not receiving specialized treatment for these substance use problems did not perceive their need for help. Even among the four percent of young adults who thought they needed specialized help in the past year, less than one third made any attempt to get treatment.

Substance Use Disorders Are Treatable, Experts Urge

“Substance use disorders are preventable and treatable yet we continue as a nation to allow the lives of one in five young people and their families be torn apart by substance abuse,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator, Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H. “As a nation we must redouble our efforts to prevent substance abuse in the first place and ensure treatment is available to those in need.”

If you know of a young adult in need of treatment, contact The Oaks at La Paloma Treatment Center’s 24-hour helpline, toll free, for more information.

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