SAMHSA barometer shows 6% increase in treatment | Behavioral Healthcare Executive Skip to content Skip to navigation

SAMHSA barometer shows 6% increase in treatment

February 16, 2015
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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In its recently released “National Behavioral Health Barometer,”  SAMHSA found several positive trends among the key measures for youth, but there are still significant opportunities for improving measures for all populations, especially in utilization of treatment.  The barometer compared 2009 data to 2013 data.

Most notable was the indication that individuals receiving treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) has increased 6 percent during the study period. More than 1.25 million people were enrolled SUD treatment in 2013, up from 1.18 million in 2009. And among those enrolled, SAMHSA reports that 43 percent have both alcohol and drug addictions.

However, only 6.3 percent of individuals with alcohol dependence or abuse said they received treatment within the prior year. An estimated 16.2 million people who would benefit from treatment did not enroll in a program—largely because they did not perceive a need for it.

For opioid treatment programs, the number of those accessing treatment increased by 17 percent, and the use of buprenorphine almost doubled from 24,173 to 48,148. Past-year treatment measures show that of the 6.9 million individuals with illicit drug dependence or abuse, only 13.4 percent received treatment. SAMHSA also notes more than eight out of 10 people who needed such treatment did not perceive a need for it.

“The Barometer provides new insight into what is happening on the ground in states across the country,” said SAMHSA’s Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, in a statement.  “It provides vital information on the progress being made in each state as well as the challenges before them.  States and local communities use this data to determine the most effective ways of addressing their behavioral healthcare needs.”     

Youth stats

SAMHSA also reported indicators of declines in risky behaviors among children.

For example, past month use of illicit drugs has fallen for those ages 12 to 17 from 2009 to 2013, from 10.1 percent in 2009 to 8.8 percent in 2013. Marijuana was the most common substance used by far, with 7.1 percent indicating use.

Past month binge drinking in the age group also fell from 8.9 percent to 6.2 percent.  SAMHSA also collected race/ethnicity data and found that White (7.3 percent) and Hispanic or Latino (6.3 percent) youth are more likely to report binge alcohol use than other ethnicities.

As new data become available, indicators highlighted in the barometer will be updated to reflect the current trends and incorporate new measures of interest, according to SAMHSA. The measures are also broken down by state.

To view and download copies of the national or any state Behavioral Health Barometer, visit the SAMHSA web site at