Arlington, VA: Nearly six out of ten individuals enrolled in drug treatment for marijuana were referred there by the criminal justice system, according to a new report issued by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
“In 2007, the criminal justice system was the largest single source of referrals to the substance abuse treatment system,” states the report, entitled “Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Referred by the Criminal Justice System.” “[T]he majority of these referrals were from parole and probation offices.”
Fifty-six percent of individuals in drug treatment for marijuana were referred there by the criminal justice system, up from 48 percent in 1992. Overall, 37 percent of all drug treatment admissions were based upon criminal justice referrals.
Commenting on the statistics, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “These figures make it clear that it is not marijuana use per se that is driving these treatment admission rates; it is marijuana prohibition that is primarily responsible. These people for the most part are not ‘addicts’ in any true sense of the word. Rather, they are ordinary Americans who have experienced the misfortune of being busted for marijuana who are forced to choose between rehab or jail.”
Treatment statistics published by the federal government this past spring reported that over 37 percent of the estimated 288,000 thousand people who entered drug treatment for pot in 2007 had not reported using it in the 30 days previous to their admission. Another 16 percent of those admitted said that they’d used marijuana three times or fewer in the month prior to their admission.
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: firstname.lastname@example.org