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Adolescent Treatment Admissions Increased in 2002

Increase Due to Rise in Marijuana Abuse

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Updated September 01, 2004

The number of admissions to substance abuse treatment for adolescents ages 12 to 17 increased again in 2002, continuing a ten-year trend. These data were released in the "Treatment Episode Data Set: National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services 1992-2002" by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The new data show that the number of adolescents ages 12 to 17 admitted to substance abuse treatment increased 65 percent between 1992 and 2002. In 1992, adolescents represented six percent of all treatment admissions. By 2002, this proportion had grown to nine percent. This report expands upon data published in May in the "Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) Highlights 2002."

The increase in substance abuse treatment admissions among 12 to 17 year olds was largely due to the increase in the number of admissions in this age group that reported marijuana as their primary drug of abuse. Between 1992 and 2002, the number of adolescent treatment admissions for primary marijuana abuse increased 350 percent.

Teen Marijuana Abuse Increasing?

In 1992, 23 percent of all adolescent admissions were for primary marijuana abuse. By 2002, 63 percent of adolescent admissions reported marijuana as their primary drug.

"The youthfulness of people admitted for marijuana use shows that we need to work harder to get the message out that marijuana is a dangerous, addictive substance, SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie said. All Americans must begin to confront drug use B and drug users B honestly and directly. We must discourage our youngsters from using drugs and provide those in need an opportunity for recovery by encouraging them to enter and remain in drug treatment."

Forty-eight percent of all adolescent treatment admissions in 2002 involved the use of both alcohol and marijuana. Admissions involving these two substances increased by 86 percent between 1992 and 2002.

More Than Half Court Ordered

In 2002, more than half (53 percent) of adolescent admissions were referred to treatment through the criminal justice system. Seventeen percent were self- or individual referrals, and 11 percent were referred through schools.

The TEDS report provides detailed data on admissions to substance abuse treatment for all age groups. The 2002 data show that polydrug abuse (abuse of more than one substance) was more common among TEDS admissions than was the abuse of a single substance.

Polydrug abuse was reported by 55 percent of all admissions for substance abuse treatment in 2002. Alcohol, marijuana and cocaine were the most commonly reported secondary substances. For marijuana and cocaine, more admissions reported these as secondary substances than as primary substances.

This new report provides information on the demographic and substance abuse characteristics of the 1.9 million annual admissions to treatment for abuse of alcohol and drugs in facilities that report to individual state administrative data systems. The report also includes data by state and state rates.

The report is available online.

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