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New Survey Reveals Statistics on Addiction, Mental Health in US

Last week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the results of the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The survey results provide information about how Americans report on their experience with mental health conditions, substance use, and treatment access.

The survey found that 16 percent of the U.S. population, more than 46 million individuals, met the DSM-5 criteria for having a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year. Of those with SUDs, 94 percent reported that they did not receive any treatment for their condition in 2021.

Over half the U.S. population used tobacco, alcohol or an illicit drug in the past month. Alcohol was the most popular substance used by people in the U.S. – 47.5% of the population used alcohol, followed by 19% who used a tobacco product and 14.3% used an illicit drug in the last month. The majority of adults who reported ever having a SUD (72.2%) considered themselves in recovery.

Mental illness affected more than one in five U.S. adults in 2021 (22.8 percent), with 5.5 percent reporting a serious mental illness.

“Every year since 1971, this survey has given us a window into our nation’s mental health and substance use challenges and 2021 was no different. As the findings make clear, millions of Americans young and old faced mental health and substance use challenges—sometimes both at once—during the second year of the pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a news release.

Since 1971, NSDUH has served as the primary source of statistical information on substance use and mental health in this country, and the 2021 report is the most comprehensive to date.

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