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Most substance abusers seek treatment for drugs

People who go into substance-abuse treatment in North Carolina are more likely to be involved with drugs than with alcohol, according to a new federal report released today.

However, help is more easily available for alcohol abuse, the report says.

During the past 15 years, the report says, more North Carolinians are being admitted to treatment facilities with problems related to cocaine and opiates other than heroin, and fewer have logged fewer admission with alcohol as their principal problem.

“North Carolina has seen a substantial shift in the constellation of problems present at treatment admission,” according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which released information based on its national surveys.

Among the North Carolina-specific findings:

Alcohol-only admissions have declined from more than two in five in 1992 to less than one in five in 2006, the most recent year available.

Drug-only admissions have more than doubled, from 15 percent in 1992 to 35 percent in 2005.

Unmet need for alcohol treatment has generally been below national rates and in 2005-2006 was among the lowest in the country for all age groups except those 26 and older.

Rates of unmet need for drug treatment, however, have varied more and in 2005-2006 were among the highest in the country for those older than 26.

At about 7 percent for people 26 and older, the rates of people unable to obtain substance-abuse treatment appear to be somewhat lower than those in a recently released N.C. Institute of Medicine report on the state of substance abuse services in North Carolina.

The Institute of Medicine report recommended that legislators vote an additional $94 million for substance abuse services during the next two years.

source: The News and Observer

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