Most Youths Do Not Receive Needed Drug AbuseTreatment
Nine out of 10 youths ages 12 to 17 who have problems with drugs or alcohol do not get needed treatment, according to a study issued this week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, USA Today reports. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse examined drug use among people ages 12 and older in 2000. The study found that 4.7 million Americans ages 12 and older abuse or are dependent on illegal drugs, and 3.9 million of those people never received treatment in 2000. Among those ages 12 to 17, 1.1 million had problems with drugs and alcohol, and only 122,000 received treatment in 2000, the study found. According to the new study, 129,000 people sought treatment in 2000 but were denied. President Bush, who earlier this week proposed a $127 million budget increase to fight drug treatment, said officials in his administration will "focus their efforts" on assisting those who are denied help. But the federal money is only a "small step" toward solving the problem, according to drug treatment experts. Mitchell Rosenthal, head of the Phoenix House Foundation, the nation's largest not-for-profit drug treatment program, said that to "close the treatment gap," the government, health care providers and insurance companies need to increase treatment funding, expand insurance coverage, establish additional drug treatment program and eliminate the stigma associated with seeking treatment. USA Today reports that drug programs in this country are "almost always at capacity" and "can cost as much as sending a child to a year of college." David Rosenker, vice president of adolescent services at the Wernersville, Pa.-based Caron Foundation drug treatment facility, said, "Families that have a lot of money can find access to just about anything. Then there's everybody else" (Leinwand, USA Today, 2/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.