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5 Million People a Year Use Self-Help Addiction Programs

U.S. report finds 2.3 million of them currently abstain from alcohol, drugs

MONDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- An estimated five million Americans over the age of 12 participate in self-help groups for alcohol and drug abuse each year, including 2.3 million who currently abstain from use of these substance.

That's the finding of a report released Monday by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The report, which includes data from 2006 and 2007 nationwide surveys of 67,500 people each year, also found that:

  • 45.3 percent attended a self-help group because of their alcohol use only; 21.8 percent attended because of illicit drug use only, and 33 percent attended because of both alcohol and illicit drug use.
  • 45.1 percent of past year self-help group participants didn't use alcohol or illicit drugs in the past month.
  • 32.7 percent of those who attended a self-help group for alcohol/drug use during the past year also received specialty treatment for their abuse, including treatment received at a hospital as an outpatient, at a rehabilitation facility as an inpatient or outpatient, or at a mental health center.

"This report adds to the substantial body of research indicating that participation in self-help groups can help support people battling substance abuse problems. Self-help groups often are used in conjunction with specialty treatment and to support individuals seeking help or sustaining their recovery," Dr. Eric Broderick, SAMHSA acting administrator, said in a government news release.

More information

SAMSHA has more about drug and alcohol abuse treatment.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, news release, Nov. 24, 2008

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