Study overviewA study was conducted by Joseph W. Frank, MD; John Z. Ayanian, MD, MPP; Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, with the lead author being Dr. Joseph W. Frank from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. They reviewed two national surveys reviewing data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) from 2001 through 2009.
The study's results were published online on October 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine as a research letter. An overview of the study can be seen here: Management of Substance Use Disorders in Ambulatory Care in the United States, 2001-2009.
Study findingsThe authors analyzed 8930 visits, which represented an estimated 42.2 million adult visits which involved substance abuse disorders. Findings point out:
- Such visits increased 70% from 10.6 million in 2001 through 2003 to 18.0 million in 2007 through 2009.
- Visits of opioid use disorders increased 6-fold from 772,000 in 2001 through 2003 to 4.4 million in 2007 through 2009, accounting for 7% of all substance use disorder visits in 2001 through 2003 and 25% of visits in 2007 through 2009.
There is some good news
The researchers also point to some good news:
- When patients were seen by their doctors, the doctors did prescribe medicine to treat the drug and alcohol problems.
- These prescriptions were issued to 643,000 patients between 2001 and 2003; this number grew to 3.9 million patients between 2007 and 2009.
- Most of these prescriptions were written to treat people with opioid addiction.
- The most popular prescribed treatment was "talk therapy" (psychosocial therapy, mental health counseling, stress management) which was used for 25 million patients.
The first step (We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable) is all about being honest with yourself and those who are trying to help you.