Treatment Admissions Increase for Heroin and Painkillers

A growing number of Americans are seeking treatment for addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers, while alcohol-related treatment admissions are declining, according to a new report.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found 19 percent of admissions to publicly funded substance-use treatment programs were related to heroin in 2013, up from 15 percent in 2003. Admissions for opioid painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin increased from 3 percent to 9 percent during that period, HealthDay reports.

Alcohol-related admissions declined from 42 percent to 38 percent during that period. Overall admissions decreased from almost 1.9 million to just under 1.7 million.

Admissions for marijuana rose from 16 percent to 17 percent, while those for methamphetamine/amphetamines increased from 6 percent to 9 percent. Cocaine-related admissions (including crack) decreased from 14 percent to 6 percent. In 2013, 55 percent of patients admitted for treatment said they used more than one substance.

“Time and again, research has demonstrated that treatment helps people with substance-use disorders to regain their lives,” SAMHSA Acting Administrator Kana Enomoto said in an agency news release. “As with other life-threatening conditions, this step can be the difference between life and death. We need to encourage people to seek help. Treatment works. People recover.”