Top Reasons for Not Getting Alcohol or Drug Treatment

Lack of Motivation to Quit and Health Coverage Are the Top Reasons for Not Receiving Needed Alcohol or Drug Treatment

An estimated 20.5 million people needed but did not receive alcohol or drug treatment in the past year, according to data from the 2010 National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The primary reason for not receiving treatment among those who were classified as needing—and felt they needed—treatment was not being ready to stop using alcohol or illicit drugs (40.2%). The second most commonly cited reason for not receiving treatment was having no health coverage and not being able to afford the cost (32.9%). People in need of alcohol treatment were more likely than those in need of drug treatment to cite not being ready to stop using (45.1% vs. 30.7%; data not shown), while those needing drug treatment were more likely to cite not having health coverage and could not afford the cost (41.8% vs. 30.9%; data not shown). Other reasons given were not knowing where to go for treatment, thinking that going to treatment might have a negative effect on their job or social relationships, or thinking that they could handle the problem without treatment (see figure below).

(N=an estimated 1,341,000 U.S. residents ages 12 and older classified as needing and perceiving a need for—but not receiving—treatment)

  • Not Ready to Stop Using 40.2%
  • No Health Coverage and Could Not Afford Cost 32.9%
  • Might Have Negative Effect on Job 11.5%
  • Might Cause Neighbors/Community to Have Negative Opinion 11.3%
  • Could Handle the Problem Without Treatment 9.9%
  • Did Not Know Where to Go for Treatment 9.3%
  • Did Not Feel Need for Treatment at the Time 7.8%
  • Did Not Want Others to Find Out 6.8%
  • No Transportation/Inconvenient 6.3%