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Criminal Justice Referrals Still Driving Marijuana Treatment Admissions


marijuana rehabilitation treatmentBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Over half of all people admitted to drug treatment programs for marijuana-related issues over the past decade were referred there by a criminal justice source, according to a report published this month by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

In the years 2003 through 2013, 52 percent of people in drug treatment for marijuana as their ‘primary substance of abuse’ were referred by the criminal justice system. Of those, almost half (44 percent) entered treatment as a component of their probation or parole.

Only 18 percent of marijuana treatment admissions were based upon self-referrals. Primary marijuana admissions were less likely than all other drug-related admissions combined to have been self- or individually referred to treatment.

The data mirrors those of previous federal reports finding that only a small percentage of those entering treatment for marijuana perceive that they are abusing cannabis or have even used the substance recently.

Source: NORML - make a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. In the 1970s we had some seriously cruel laws to punish Americans for cannabis use. Yet even then we recognized the difference between the psychological, habit- forming potential of cannabis, and the physical dependence (addiction) that heroin users develop. Now psychologists label EVERYTHING as addictive. So now we have a heroin addiction problem. We need a new word to replace the word “addictive”, so we can once again make the distinction between habit-forming, and physically addictive.

  2. Tax-money that in reality doesn’t exist, that our children and their descendants are already paying for, because we couldn’t get over our appetite to destroy other people’s lives.

  3. darthhillbilly on

    I have personal experience with this situation. I was caught for possession, and sent to NA by the presiding judge. The problems spoke of by others were horrendous. I was asked why I was there, and met with laughs when I answered…WEED. The lesson I took away…Don’t do man made drugs! People on prescription medications outnumbered the rest by far, and seemed to engage in more self-destructive behavior. It may be different in other places, but “Pillbillies” were the main attraction at this meeting, during my forced visits.

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