CHICAGO Feb 7 U.S. college students
seeking treatment for substance abuse are more likely to be
having trouble with alcohol than with abuse of drugs like
heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine, according to a new
Researchers at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration (SAMHSA) analyzed data from 2009, when
about 374,000 people between the ages of 18 and 24 were treated
for substance abuse or dependence in the United States.
The overwhelming majority of those admitted for treatment --
about 362,000 -- were young adults who were not enrolled in
college or post-secondary school, the researchers found.
About 12,000 of the admissions -- or 3.2 percent of the
total -- involved young adults enrolled in higher education.
Nearly half of the college kids -- 46.6 percent -- admitted
for treatment in 2009 were having problems with alcohol,
compared with 30.6 percent of the non-students, researchers
Pamela Hyde, an official with SAMHSA, said the results
underscored the "pervasive and potentially devastating role that
alcohol plays on far too many college campuses."
Marijuana remains a significant problem with both groups,
the researchers found, accounting for 30.9 percent of the
treatment admissions involving college students and 30 percent
of the admissions involving non-students.
When it came to other drugs, however, college students had
markedly lower rates of treatment admissions than non-students
Only 7.2 percent of the college students seeking treatment
in 2009 were abusing heroin, compared with 16.1 percent of the
Cocaine admission rates were more than twice as high for
non-students than for students and methamphetamine admissions
were more than four times higher for non-students, the
SAMHSA is the unit within the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services that focuses on substance abuse and mental
The study was based on an analysis of SAMHSA's 2009
Treatment Episode Data Set, which drew on reports from thousands
of publicly supported substance abuse treatment facilities in
The report is available online at www.samhsa.gov.