Patients in treatment facilities cite alcohol, cannabis as most commonly used drugs

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

US adults in treatment facilities evaluated for 30-day substance use patterns during 2019 cited alcohol and cannabis as principal drugs and psychiatric issues as one of their main problems, according to a study published in Morbidity and Morality Weekly Rreport.

“Approximately 81,000 persons died of a drug overdose during May 2019 to May 2020; excessive alcohol use contributes to an estimated 95,000 deaths per year,” Akadia Kacha-Ochana, MPH, of the CDC, and colleagues wrote. “Persons with a substance use disorder are at elevated risk for overdose and associated harms.”

Source: Adobe Stock.

Researchers aimed to examine the prevalence of past 30-day substance use patterns as well as gauge the severity of problems experienced across seven biopsychosocial domains — alcohol, drug, employment, family, legal, medical and psychiatric.

The study utilized information from 2019 via the National Addictions Vigilance Intervention and Prevention Program Addiction Severity Index-Multimedia Version tool, a self-administered, computerized, clinical assessment method provided upon admission to a substance use treatment facility. The assessment collected data from 399 treatment centers in 37 states regarding 49,138 people aged 18 years or older (63.4% male, 65.8% white, 66.6% from metropolitan areas) who sought substance use treatment in the US

Prevalence of past 30-day use overall and by demographic factors (sex, age, race and ethnicity, education, employment status, urban-rural residence and US Census Bureau region of treatment site) was analyzed.

Results showed that alcohol was the most commonly reported substance used during the past 30 days (35.8%), followed by cannabis (24.9%), misuse of prescription opioids (18.5%), illicit stimulants (14%), heroin (10.2%) , misuse of prescription sedatives or tranquilizers (8.5%), cocaine (7.4%), illicit fentanyl (4.9%) and misuse of prescription stimulants (1.8%).

Use of two or more substances during the 30-day window was reported by 32.6% of respondents. Among the biopsychosocial domains measured, 45.4% of adults assessed reported more severe problems with drugs, followed by psychiatric (35.2%), legal (28.8%), medical (27.4%), employment (25%), alcohol (24.2%) and family problems (22.8%). Compared with men, women reported more severe problems for all domains except alcohol. Adults aged 25 to 34 years reported more severe problems with drugs (49.9%), and those aged 55 to 64 years reported more severe problems with alcohol (41.1%). Data also revealed 67.4% of unemployed adults assessed experienced more severe drug problems, and adults who were retired or had disabilities experienced more severe psychiatric (53.3%) and medical (59.6%) issues.

“Actions to enhance comprehensive substance use programs that incorporate polysubstance use and co-occurring mental health problems into strategies for prevention, treatment and response are needed, as is expanded linkage to services,” Kacha-Ochana and colleagues wrote.

Leave a Comment