By 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.