National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS-1997-2011)

Parent Series Details:

The National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) is an annual census designed to collect information from all facilities within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories, both public and private, that provide substance abuse treatment. N-SSATS provides the mechanism for quantifying the dynamic character and composition of the United States substance abuse treatment delivery system.

Designed to collect data based on the location of the facility, the objectives of N-SSATS are (1) Collect multipurpose data that can be used to assist the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and state and local governments in assessing the nature and extent of services provided and in forecasting treatment resource requirements; (2) Update SAMHSA’s Inventory of Behavioral Health Services (I-BHS); (3) Analyze general treatment services trends; (4) Generate the online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator and the National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Programs.

N-SSATS collects three types of information from facilities: (1) characteristics of individual facilities such as types of treatment provided and services offered (assessment, counseling, pharmacotherapies used, testing, transitional, and ancillary services), operation of the facility (public or private), special programs or groups provided for specific client types, client outreach, and payment options; (2) client count information (based on a survey reference date) such as counts of clients served by service type and number of beds designated for treatment (collected only in “odd” years); and (3) general information such as licensure, certification, or accreditation and facility website availability.


Study Details:

The National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) is designed to collect information from all facilities in the United States, both public and private, that provide substance abuse treatment.

Data are collected on topics including facility operation, services offered (assessment and pre-treatment, pharmacotherapies, testing, transitional, ancillary), detoxification, primary focus (substance abuse, mental health, both, general health, and other), hotline operation, Opioid Treatment Programs and medications dispensed/prescribed, counseling and therapeutic approaches, languages in which treatment is provided, type of treatment provided, number of clients (total and under age 18), number of beds, types of payment accepted, sliding fee scale, special programs offered, facility accreditation and licensure/certification, and managed care agreements.

N-SSATS was titled the Uniform Facility Data Set (UFDS) in 1997 and 1998. Data from these years along with N-SSATS 2000 and N-SSATS 2002 to N-SSATS 2011 are included in this concatenated dataset.

Study Scope

Geographic coverage : 
United States
Unit of observation: 
Data types: 
survey data
The Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality was formerly named the Office of Applied Studies. The yearly N-SSATS data collected from 1997 to 2009 were collected under the Office of Applied Studies. In 2010 data began to be collected under the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.
Data were collected by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Princeton, NJ, and prepared for release by Synectics for Management Decisions, Inc., Arlington, VA.
N-SSATS is a point-prevalence survey. It provides information on the substance abuse treatment system and its clients on the reference date. Client counts do not represent annual totals. Rather, N-SSATS provides a "snapshot" of substance abuse treatment facilities and clients on an average day.
N-SSATS collects data about facilities, not individual clients. Data on clients represent an aggregate of clients in treatment for each reporting facility.
N-SSATS attempts to obtain responses from all known facilities that provide substance abuse treatment, but it is a voluntary survey. There is no adjustment for facility nonresponse.
This is a concatenated file of the individual N-SSATS files. The 2008 survey was selected as the "base" year. The concatenated file includes equivalent variables from prior years. If an equivalent variable (i.e., with similar question wording) was not part of an earlier survey, the variable was constructed from the existing questions where possible. If an equivalent variable did not exist or could not be constructed, variables expressing a similar concept or topic were included.
The question text for most variables is based on the 2008 questionnaire. The question text for variables that have no equivalent in the 2008 survey was taken from the most recent questionnaire that included the variable. As question wording and definitions may vary slightly from year to year, the individual questionnaires should be consulted in any analysis.
General topics and data items that were discontinued before the 2008 survey are not included in the concatenated data set. The majority of these discontinuations occurred at the time of the major survey redesign prior to the 2000 survey. Discontinued data items were those where data reported was found to be unreliable and include facility revenue, percent of population representing specific groups, unduplicated client counts, wait list information, managed care ownership, and parent/affiliate relationships. Please see Table 4 of the PDF codebook for a crosswalk of the variables included in each survey year.
The concatenated file includes the facilities in the N-SSATS Annual Reports and public use files. Rules for the inclusion of facilities in the data file vary slightly. In 1997 only, facilities treating only DUI/DWI clients were inelgible to complete the survey. From 2000 on, non-state approved solo practitioners, and facilities where all clients were incarcerated were excluded.
In 1997, 1998, and 2000 the survey reference date was October 1. The reference date was changed to the last business day in March beginning with the 2002 survey. This change was made to help increase the timeliness of responses by facilities. As a result, no data were collected for 2001.
In 2002, a Web option for survey response was introduced and used by 20 percent of responding facilities. By 2010, this had increased to 61 percent.
Subject Terms: 
  • alcohol abuse
  • drug abuse
  • drug treatment
  • health care services
  • HIV
  • intervention
  • substance abuse
  • substance abuse treatment
  • treatment facilities
  • treatment programs

Study Methodology

Mode of data collection: 
mail questionnaire
The Inventory of Behavioral Health Services (I-BHS) provides the sampling frame for N-SSATS and includes all active substance abuse treatment facilities, public and private, known to SAMHSA. The majority (approximately 80 percent) of facilities are those that are licensed, certified, or otherwise approved by the state substance abuse agency to provide substance abuse treatment. This group also includes programs operated by Federal agencies-the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, the Indian Health Service-and Opioid Treatment Programs certified by SAMHSA. The rest of facilities represent SAMHSA's effort since the mid-1990s to make the I-SATS as comprehensive as possible by including treatment facilities that State substance abuse agencies, for a variety of reasons, do not fund, license, or certify. Many of these facilities are private for-profit, small group practices, or hospital-based programs. Most of them are identified through periodic screening of alternative source databases. State substance abuse agencies are given the opportunity to review these facilities and to add them to the State agency-approved list, if appropriate.
Response rates: 
  • Detailed response rates by year are provided in the PDF codebook. N-SSATS obtained an average response rate of 94 percent in the survey years 1997 through 2011.
  • 2014-04-25: This study update was done in order to remove the geographic variables of County, MSA, and CBSA.
  • 2013-11-19: The value labels were added onto the COUNTY variable.
  • 2013-11-15: Added 2011 data to the N-SSATS concatenated data file.
  • 2012-06-07: Added 2010 data to the N-SSATS concatenated data file.
Extent of processing: 
  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.