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Unmet Need for Drug Treatment

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According to data from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 82% of the estimated 7.5 million who needed treatment for an illicit drug problem in the past year did not receive it.

While there are many reasons for not receiving treatment, a primary one appears to be a lack of perceived need. Nearly all (91%) of those who were assessed as needing but did not receive treatment for illicit drug problems said that they did not feel that they needed treatment. Similar results were found for alcohol treatment.

A lack of perceived need for treatment may mean that people don’t think they have a problem, they think their problem is not serious enough to warrant treatment, or they think they can handle their substance use problem on their own.

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