SAMHSA Survey Reveals COVID-19 Negatively Impacted Americans’ Well-Being

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently released the findings of its annual drug use and health survey, unsurprisingly revealing that COVID-19 has negatively impacted Americans’ health in multiple ways.

While the results of the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health are not directly comparable to those from 2019 due to methodological changes and changes to the questionnaire itself, past-year users of alcohol and drugs said they used these substances “a little more or much more” than they did in pre-pandemic times.

Survey participants also reported noticing negative effects to their mental health in 2020. Nearly 30% of adults 18 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) or any mental illness (AMI) last year. Those adults who had AMI or serious mental illness (SMI) in the past year were more likely than their peers without mental illness to say the pandemic affected their mental health “quite a bit or a lot.” 

Other key findings include:

  • 4 percent (or 59.3 million) of people aged 12 or older used illicit drugs in the past year. 9.3 million of those (primarily young adults aged 18 to 25) misused prescription pain relievers.
  • 7 million people ages 12 or older had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) or illicit drug use disorder (IDUD) in the past year, with 6.5 million having co-occurring AUD and IDUD.
  • 3 percent (73.8 million) of adults aged 18 or older had an SUD or AMI, with 17 million having co-occurring SUD and AMI.

Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy Regina LaBelle said the survey’s results “show the urgent need to intervene at every opportunity to reduce substance use disorder and meet people where they are.”

Cordant is proud to provide innovative tools to help treatment providers do just that. Our solutions help patients more effectively manage OUD and SUD on their path to long-term recovery and improved quality of life.

SAMHSA releases 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
2020 NSDUH Annual National Report