FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        SEPTEMBER 13, 2011
Contact: Nikki Reen (267.295.3859 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.g)

New Data Presents Snapshot of Factors Affecting Recovery

PHILADELPHIAThe month of September marks National Recovery Month, a nationwide effort that raises awareness about the treatment options available to those struggling with addiction, celebrates those in recovery and promotes the effectiveness of treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug and alcohol addiction are linked to short and long-term health risks, including cancer, risky sexual behavior, and mental health problems.* In 2009, 8.9% of Americans aged 12 years or older had a drug or alcohol abuse problem, translating to about 22.5 million people.** In recognition of National Recovery Month, researchers at Public Health Management Corporation’s Community Health Data Base (CHDB) examined new data on substance use among adults 18 years of age and older in the region. The data was from the 2010 Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) Household Health Survey, which for the first time in its 28-year history asked questions about recovery, treatment and attitudes about recovery and treatment.

Demographics and socioeconomic characteristics

Nine percent of adults living in SEPA indicate that they are in recovery, meaning that they had a problem with alcohol or drugs that is no longer a problem in their life.  This percentage represents about 269,000 adults. Men are more likely to be in recovery than are women (12.7% compared to 5.8%, respectively). People ages 50 to 59 are more likely to be in recovery than older (60+) or younger individuals (18-49). About 9% of individuals ages 18-49 are in recovery compared with 11.2% of people ages 50-59, 7.4% of people ages 60-74 and 4% of people age 75 and older.

Recovery varies among levels of education, income and race. About twenty-four percent (24.1%) of adults without a high school education are in recovery, as well as 11.7% of high school graduates and 3.8 percent of adults either with a college degree or with post-college education.

Additionally, adults below 200% of the poverty line are more likely to be in recovery compared with adults living above 200% of the poverty line (15.9% compared to 6.6%). African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be in recovery than white or Asian adults (13.2% and 12.8% compared with 7.7% and 4.1%, respectively).

Philadelphia has the highest percentage of adults in recovery in SEPA.  More than one in ten Philadelphia adults (11.4%) is in recovery, representing about 130,000 people.  The percentage of adults in recovery is fairly stable across the suburban counties; 8.2% of adults in both Chester and Delaware Counties are in recovery, as well as 7.5% of Bucks County adults and 6.7% of adults in Montgomery County.

Recovery and health

Adults with drug or alcohol problems may be at risk for other health problems.  The 2010 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey data show that adults in recovery may face some of these same health risks.  Nearly one-third of adults in recovery (30.9%) are in fair or poor health, representing about 83,000 adults in SEPA who may have additional healthcare needs. Among adults in recovery, one-third (33.1%) have a physical, mental, or emotional disability or condition lasting six months or more. In addition, 38% of people who are in recovery also report having a diagnosed mental health condition. Over half (51.8%) of adults who are in recovery are current smokers.

Recovery and treatment

Since alcohol and drug addiction may negatively influence mental and physical health status, treatment and recovery are critical. While 23.5 million adults in the US needed treatment for an alcohol or drug problem in 2009, only 2.6 million people received treatment.**

According to the National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month Community, support and quality of support remain essential components of successful recovery. Over 80% of adults living in SEPA believe that people with severe alcohol or other drug problems can fully recover. While 86.4% of people living in SEPA believe that communities should support professional treatment, only about half (47.4%) say that addiction treatment in their community is very good. People living in Bucks, Chester and Montgomery counties are more likely to believe that addiction treatment is very good in their communities (50%) compared with 45% in Philadelphia and Delaware counties.

To access the full findings on recovery in Southeastern Pennsylvania, contact Rose Malinowski Weingartner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 215.985.2572.

*CDC. “Alcohol-attributable deaths and years of potential life lost—United States, 2001.” Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report 2004;53(37):866–870.

** Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2010). Results from the 2009

National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Volume I. Summary of National Findings (Office of

Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-38A, HHS Publication No. SMA 10-4586Findings).

Rockville, MD.


About CHDB

Public Health Management Corporation’s CHDB Household Health Survey is one of the largest regional health surveys in the country. The Pew Charitable Trusts; William Penn Foundation; United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania; United Way of North Penn; CIGNA Foundation; Green Tree Community Health Foundation; Philadelphia Foundation; North Penn Community Health Foundation and the Thomas Scattergood Foundation and over 350 local agencies from the health, government, nonprofit and academic sectors help to support the CHDB. To view previous data news releases, please click here. For more information, please visit

About PHMC

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce.  PHMC has served the region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit