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US Government: Nearly Four In Ten Admitted To "Treatment" For Marijuana Haven't Used Pot

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Rockville, MD: Nearly four in ten individuals admitted to substance abuse treatment programs for cannabis have not used the drug in the month prior to their admission, according to data provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

According to federal figures, 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.

Commenting on the statistics, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: "These statistics 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."

According to state and national statistics, between 60 percent and 70 percent of individuals enrolled in substance abuse 'treatment' for cannabis are referred there by the criminal justice system.

By contrast, fewer than 15 percent of marijuana treatment admissions are voluntary.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the report, "Highlights of the 2007 Treatment Episode Data Sets," is available online at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/TEDS2k7highlights/TOC.cfm.






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