Need For & Receipt Of Substance Use Treatment Among Blacks

The 2010 Census notes that 12.3 percent of the population (38.9 million people) are black. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is committed to reducing disparities in access to and quality of care for racial and ethnic minorities.

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The overall health and well-being of the Nation is improved by the extent to which the entire population has access to substance use treatment if it is needed. Understanding whether blacks with alcohol and illicit drug abuse problems seek and receive specialty treatment may help improve treatment and outreach programs for this population.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) gathers information about needs for substance use treatment, use of services, and reasons people do not receive treatment. NSDUH classifies persons as needing substance use treatment if they meet the criteria for substance dependence or abuse (based on symptoms they report) or if they received substance use treatment at a specialty facility in the past year.3,4,5 Respondents are also asked if there was a time in the past 12 months when they felt they needed substance use treatment.

This issue of The NSDUH Report looks at the need for and receipt of substance use treatment among blacks and persons from other racial and ethnic groups aged 12 or older.6 Estimates in this report are annual averages based on combined 2003 to 2011 data.