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Too Few Young Adults Treated For Alcohol, Drug Problems: Study

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More than one in five young adults in the United States (7 million) need treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use, but only 7 percent of them receive treatment at a specialty facility, says a federal government study released Monday.

Those levels have remained relatively stable since 2002, said the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) study of 2007 data from a national survey of 22,187 adults ages 18 to 25.

"Substance use disorders are preventable and treatable yet we continue as a nation to allow the lives of 1 in 5 young people and their families be torn apart by substance abuse," SAMHSA Acting Adminstrator Eric Broderick said in a news release. "As a nation we must redouble our efforts to prevent substance abuse in the first place and ensure treatment is available to those in need."

The study also found that 96 percent of young adults who needed, but didn't receive, treatment for substance-use problems didn't believe they needed help.

Among the other findings from the 2007 data:

- Among young adults, 17.2 percent needed treatment for alcohol disorders in the past year, 8.4 percent for illicit drug disorders, and 4.4 percent for both alcohol and illicit drug disorders.

- Young adults covered by Medicaid/Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) were more than three times as likely as those with private insurance to receive treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use in a specialty facility -- 13.2 percent vs. 4 percent.

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