Access to Residential Addiction Treatment Centers for Teens Limited

Self-pay patients required to pay up front at half of facilities, with mean up-front cost of $28,731
Access to Residential Addiction Treatment Centers for Teens Limited
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

TUESDAY, Jan. 9, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- For adolescents, access to U.S. residential addiction treatment centers is limited and costly, according to a study published in the January issue of Health Affairs.

Caroline A. King, M.P.H., from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues identified 160 residential addiction treatment facilities that treated adolescents with opioid use disorder as of December 2022 using the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration treatment locator and search engine advertising data. While role-playing the aunt or uncle of a 16-year-old child with a recent nonfatal overdose, facilities were called to ask about policies and costs.

The researchers found that 54.4 percent of the facilities had a bed available immediately. The mean wait time for a bed was 28.4 days among sites with a wait list. The mean cost of treatment per day was $878 among the facilities providing cost information. Daily costs were triple among for-profit versus nonprofit facilities. Up-front payment by self-pay patients was required by half of the facilities, with the mean upfront cost of $28,731. In 10 states and Washington, D.C., no facilities were identified for adolescents.

"Findings suggest that systems-level interventions are needed to ensure adequate, equitable access to affordable treatment, including for Medicaid patients and through both residential and outpatient treatment," the authors write.

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