Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Youth, meth play big role in Washington substance abuse

by November 1st, 2012

Federal data on alcohol and drug abuse admissions to Washington state-regulated treatment facilities in 2011 show that the prototypical patient is a male either 12 to 17 tears old or 21 to 30 years old, and has been abusing alcohol and marijuana. In addition, substance abusers in Washington are also twice more likely to be 12-17 than nationally, and twice as likely to have been abusing amphetamines.

These are two snapshots from the 2011 Treatment Episode Datasets for Washington State, and corollary national data, published online by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The TEDs data, as it is called, is available for all 50 states, from 2000 to 2011, and aggregated nationally, currrently up to 2010. TEDs doesn’t cover all patients in treatment, just those treated at facilities overseen and/or funded by state authorities.

The TEDs 2011 Washington state dataset shows that of the 36,837 admittances for alcohol or substance abuse, 62.4 percent were men, and 37.6 percent were women.

Age-wise, the largest group admitted was males age 12 to 17, followed by males 21 to 25 and males 26 to 30.

The most frequent reason for admittance was abuse of alcohol and a secondary drug, followed by abuse of marijuana, amphetamines and heroin.

Women who were admitted were more likely than men on a percentage basis to have abused inhalants, tranquilizers and non-heroin opiates, and almost as likely to have abused amphetamines or hallucinogens. Men were more likely to have been abusing alcohol only, alcohol and a secondary drug, cocaine, and marijuana.

There were some notable contrasts between the 2011 Washington state data and the most recent nationwide data currently available, for 2010. Amphetamine abuse played double the role in Washington state admissions compared to nationally, on a percentage basis (12.6 percent versus 6.1 percent). And Washington state had more than double the percentage of admissions involving 12 to 17 year olds (15.8 percent versus 7.2 percent). And in Washington a higher percentage of TEDs-tracked admissions were for women compared to U.S.-wide (37.6 percent versus 32.6 percent).

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