The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently released their much anticipated 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This annual report includes information designed to help providers and public policy influencers better understand important trends shaping America in terms of addiction and behavioral health.

While there has been an improvement in some areas (e.g. heroin usage has dropped by 50 percent year-over-year), there are several trends that strongly suggest an urgent need for greater access to comprehensive behavioral health and human services.

Overview of 2017 NSDUH Report Key Findings:

1. More individuals are seeking treatment for addiction and substance abuse.

Significantly more people received treatment for their substance use disorder in 2017 than in 2016 (e.g., for illicit drug use disorder, 9.2 percent in 2016 to 13.0 percent in 2017); this was especially true for those with heroin-related opioid use disorders, from 37.5 percent in 2016 to 54.9 percent in 2017.

2. Young adults are at risk.

In 2017, 18 to 25-year-olds had higher rates of methamphetamine and marijuana use than they did in 2016. This population also had increasing rates of serious mental illness and major depressive episodes.

3. The rate of substance use and abuse among pregnant women is increasing.

Approximately 7 percent of pregnant women have used marijuana in the past 30 days with 3 percent reporting daily use. This is troubling given that research suggests that marijuana use during pregnancy can have adverse effects including low birth weight, premature birth and stillbirth.

4. Nearly 1 in 10 Americans are living with a co-occurring disorder.

Approximately 8.1 percent of individuals are living with a co-occurring mental and substance use disorder. (Given that co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders impact one another and must be treated concurrently, this data suggests that there is an increasing need for community health providers that leverage an integrated care model.)

You can access the full NSDUH report on SAMHSA’s website.

In summary, this report highlights what we already know. More Americans need and deserve access to treatment for a wide variety of behavioral health issues. That’s one of the many reasons why we are a proud supporter of so many behavioral health and human services agencies across the nation who are helping to achieve better outcomes in the communities they serve.


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