Top 5 Takeaways

  1. High prevalence of substance use among adults seeking treatment: In 2019, alcohol (35.8%) and cannabis (24.9%) were the substances most commonly used in the past 30 days among adults seeking substance use treatment in the U.S.
  2. Significant polysubstance use: Polysubstance use, defined as the use of two or more substances, was reported by 32.6% of adults evaluated, underscoring the complexity of substance use disorders.
  3. Severe biopsychosocial problems: The study found severe problems across multiple biopsychosocial domains, with drugs (45.4%), psychiatric issues (35.2%), and legal problems (28.8%) being the most severe.
  4. Gender and regional differences: Women reported higher use of almost all substances except alcohol compared to men. Regional variations were also noted, with the Northeast U.S. Census Bureau region reporting higher use of substances like cocaine and heroin.
  5. Public health implications: The findings highlight the need for comprehensive substance use programs that address polysubstance use and co-occurring mental health problems, along with expanded linkage to services.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Akadia Kacha-Ochana,

Suggested Citation

Kacha-Ochana A, Jones CM, Green JL, et al. Characteristics of Adults Aged ≥18 Years Evaluated for Substance Use and Treatment Planning — United States, 2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:749–756. DOI:


The study assessed the characteristics of adults seeking substance use treatment in 2019, revealing a high prevalence of alcohol and cannabis use, significant polysubstance use, and severe problems across various biopsychosocial domains.


Using 2019 data from the National Addictions Vigilance Intervention and Prevention Program (NAVIPPRO) Addiction Severity Index-Multimedia Version (ASI-MV) tool, the study evaluated past 30-day substance use and the severity of problems across seven biopsychosocial domains among adults aged ≥18 years.


The findings underscore the complex nature of substance use disorders in the U.S., including the high rates of polysubstance use and severe biopsychosocial problems. Gender and regional differences in substance use patterns were also observed.


There is a critical need for enhanced comprehensive substance use programs that integrate treatment for polysubstance use and co-occurring mental health issues, as well as improved access to services.


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