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FACT FILE: Top 5 barriers to SUD treatment

September 18, 2014
by Julie Miller
| Reprints

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, released by SAMHSA in September, among the 22.7 million individuals age 12 or older who needed treatment for illicit drug or alcohol use, only about 2.5 million received treatment at a specialty facility. That leaves more than 20 million individuals who were not treated. Why? The main reason is the perception among the individuals that no treatment is needed.

Here’s how the numbers break down.

20.2 million

Classified as needing treatment but did not receive it


Perceived that they had a need for treatment


Did not make an effort to obtain treatment


Made an effort to obtain treatment


While hundreds of thousands of individuals attempted to find treatment, the reasons for not actually entering a program were varied, according to SAMHSA.


Top 5 barriers to SUD treatment

1/ No health coverage or could not afford treatment (37.3%)

2/ Not ready to stop using (24.5%)

3/ Did not know where to go for treatment (9.0%)

4/ Had health coverage but it did not cover treatment/costs (8.2%)

5/ No transportation or treatment was inconvenient (8.0%)