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Many uninsured workers do not receive substance abuse treatment: report

February 18, 2010

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Although an estimated 3 million workers without health insurance needed substance abuse treatment in the past year, only 12.6 percent were treated at a special facility, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Substance Use Treatment Need among Uninsured Workers analyzed data collected from more than 10,000 uninsured full-time workers from 2007 to 2008. The report found 16.3 percent of these workers needed substance abuse treatment, with the need being particularly high among people ages 18-25 (24.4 percent) and males (19.2 percent).

More than 80 percent of these workers did not perceive the need for treatment, although 6.6 percent recognized the need yet failed to receive it.

A cost evaluation of substance abuse treatments found that every dollar invested in treatment results in a $7 benefit to society in the form of reduced crime and increased employer earnings, the agency said.



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