Use of alcohol treatment and mental health services among adolescents with alcohol use disorders.
OBJECTIVE: This study examined the use of and perceived need for alcohol treatment services among adolescents (aged 12 to 17 years) who received mental health services in the previous year compared with same-aged adolescents who did not receive such services. METHODS: Study data were drawn from the 2000 and 2001 National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse. The authors conducted logistic regression analyses to identify the characteristics associated with the receipt of and perceived need for alcohol services among adolescents with alcohol use disorders. RESULTS: Adolescents who received mental health services were much more likely than those who did not to meet criteria for alcohol use disorders in the previous year (10 percent compared with 4 percent). Among adolescents with alcohol use disorders, 15 percent of those who received mental health services used any alcohol services, compared with only 6 percent of those who did not receive mental health services. Of adolescents with alcohol use disorders who did not receive any alcohol services, only 3 percent reported a need for alcohol treatment. Among adolescents with alcohol use disorders who received mental health services, Hispanics were significantly less likely than whites to receive any alcohol services. CONCLUSIONS: These findings from a nationally representative sample of adolescents reveal a largely unrecognized and underserved population at risk. Factors related to the underutilization of alcohol services by adolescents with alcohol use disorders deserve greater research attention.
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