If one ever needed statistical affirmation of how necessary the most appropriate drug and alcohol substance use treatment program remains, they would only need to consider the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The most recently available statistics relating to American substance-using data from 2012, are instructive in showing the vital role of the right experiential and recreational therapy program.
The country is, for example, seeing a noticeable increase in illicit drug use, with 9.2 percent of the population – or around 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older – having used an illicit drug or abused a psychotherapeutic medication such as a pain reliever, tranquilizer or stimulant in the last month. This 2012 figure compares to the 8.3 percent recorded a decade earlier. This rise is mostly accounted for by a recent increase in the most commonly used illicit drug, marijuana. Indeed, in 2007, there were some 14.4 million current (past-month) marijuana users, which had reached 18.9 million by 2012.
One piece of good news for many of those helming or in need of an experiential therapy program is that there has been no appreciable change in the use of most drugs other than marijuana over the last decade – indeed, a decline has been recorded in some instances. However, the statistics also leave no question about the need for programs tailored to the specific requirements of young adults, most people using drugs for the first time are in their teenage years. Of the just over 2.8 million new users (initiates) of illicit drugs in 2012, some 52 percent were under 18.
Furthermore, it was people in their late teens and 20s who showed the highest drug use, with 23.9 percent of 18 to 20-year olds reporting use of an illicit drug in the last month. On the positive side, however, the decade to 2012 saw a decline in the number of 12-20-year-olds drinking alcohol, from 28.8 percent to 24.3 percent. Binge drinking also fell from 19.3 percent to 15.3 percent, and only 4.3 percent of those in this age group drunk heavily as of 2012, down from the 6.2 percent recorded in 2002.
Even teen smoking dropped rapidly during the period, with only 6.6 percent of 12 to 17-year olds involved in past-month use in 2012, compared to 2002’s 13 percent figure. Nonetheless, the statistics also highlight a significant ‘treatment gap’ in the United States, the estimated 23.1 million Americans who required treatment for a drugs or alcohol-related problem in 2012 far dwarfing the around 2.5 million people who actually benefited from treatment at a specialty facility.
What such a latter fact shows is that however favorable the current drug or alcohol use statistics may become, there remains a pressing need for the right treatment provision – oftentimes an experiential therapy program.