Estimating the prevalence of substance use disorders in the US

JAMA | September 21, 2022

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The prevalence of substance use disorders has historically been underestimated based on general population samples due to a lack of including marginalized populations, such as the homeless and institutionalized.

Based on the current study, not only did the number of patients seeking treatment for substance use disorders increase between 2018 and 2019, but the published prevalence of substance use disorders according to NSDUH data was between 2.25- and 5.0-fold lower than the prevalence determined using the benchmark multiplier method.

The benchmark multiplier method was used to determine the prevalence of alcohol, cannabis, opioid, and stimulant use in 2018-19 based on data from the NSDUH and T-MISS.

The prevalence estimates for alcohol, cannabis, opioid, and stimulant use disorders based on the benchmark multiplier method and NSDUH data were 20.27% and 5.34%, 7.57% and 1.68%, 3.46% and 0.68%, and 1.91 and 0.85%, respectively.

The number of patients seeking treatment in the ensuing 12 months for 2019 compared to 2018 based on T-MISS increased for alcohol, cannabis, opioid, and stimulant use disorders.

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