Join Together, an online newsletter, recently published two distressing articles on AUD

In the first article, they reported on a study conducted by Grant and her colleagues, which was based on 36,309 face-to-face interviews. They found that twelve-month and lifetime prevalences of AUD were 13.9% and 29.1%, respectively. Prevalence was highest for men (17.6% and 36.0%, respectively), white (14.0% and 32.6%, respectively) and Native American (19.2% and 43.4%, respectively) respondents, and younger (26.7% and 37.0%, respectively) and never married (25.0% and 35.5%, respectively) adults. Significant disability and co-morbidity were associated with 12-month and lifetime AUD and increased with the severity of AUD. Only 19.8% of respondents with lifetime AUD were ever treated. The 2014 estimate from the US Census indicated 7,636,964 individuals age 18 and over. If you apply the twelve-month and lifetime prevalence percentages to NC, there would be an estimated 1,061,538 adults with twelve-month prevalence and an estimated 2,222,357 adults with lifetime prevalence of AUD. Of the 2,222,357 individuals, only an estimated 440,027 adults received treatment.

The researchers concluded that the results indicate an urgent need to educate the public and policy makers about AUD and its treatment alternatives, to destigmatize the disorder, and to encourage those who cannot reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment.

In the second article, researchers at SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Statistics and Quality looked at national data from a 2012 census of more than 14,000 U.S. substance abuse treatment facilities to see how many facilities offered one or more of the four FDA-approved AUD medications (i.e., disulfiram, oral naltrexone, extended-release injectable naltrexone, and acamprosate). They found that only 25% of all facilities offered at least one of the AUD medications and only 5% offered all four. Investigators concluded that many patients do not have access to evidence-based treatments and that more education of both patients and providers is needed.