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Treatment admissions for prescription drug abuse and alcohol abuse problems are on the rise, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The report found that in 2009, opioids accounted for 33 percent of admissions related mostly to prescription drugs, up from 8 percent in 1999. The percentage of alcohol-related admissions had declined from 48 percent in 1999 to 39 percent in 2005, but rose to 44 percent in 2009, USA Today reports.

Five substance groups accounted for 96 percent of the almost 2 million admissions of people 12 and older in 2009. These include: alcohol (42 percent), opioids (21 percent), marijuana (18 percent), cocaine (9 percent) and methamphetamine/amphetamines (6 percent).

Marijuana was the primary or secondary reason for substance abuse treatment in 86 percent of admissions among teenagers, the article notes.

“This new report shows the challenge our nation’s health system must address as the treatment needs of people with drug and alcohol problems continue to evolve,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., said in a news release. “People often arrive in treatment programs with multiple problems – including dependency or addiction to multiple substances of abuse. As health care reform continues to improve the delivery of health services in our country, this type of information will increasingly be used to inform the needs of an integrated system of care.”


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