more treated for meth, pot
USA Today, April 25, 2006
drugs, methamphetamine and marijuana are sending more
people than ever into drug treatment, according to new
federal data that also reflect how criminal sentencing
policies have dramatically increased the number of drug
users in treatment.
released Monday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration, indicate that alcohol remains by
far the most common reason for substance abuse treatment.
alcohol abuse was a factor in only 40% of the roughly 1.9
million admissions to U.S. treatment centers in 2004, down
from 53% of the nearly 1.7 million admissions a decade
earlier. The more recent numbers show a broadening in the
variety of addictions, posing new challenges to treatment
centers across the nation, the agency's Mark Weber says.
number of addicts seeking treatment for abusing prescription
opiates such as OxyContin remained relatively small — 63,243
in 2004 — but was up 62% from three years earlier, the
report says. Prescription drug abusers accounted for about
3% of those in treatment in 2004, triple the percentage of a
Meanwhile, the number of meth addicts in treatment in 2004 —
129,079 — represented a jump of 57% from 2001. Meth addicts
made up 7% of those in treatment in 2004. Weber says the
rising impact of such addicts is forcing treatment centers
to retool their programs to accommodate longer, more
intensive treatment. "It's the insidious nature of this
drug. It grabs hold of people so quickly and destroys their
lives so rapidly."
Arkansas, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma and Utah, meth
addicts represented at least 20% of those seeking treatment,
the data show. Hawaii's treatment programs had the highest
proportion of meth addicts, 41%.
Wechsler, executive director of Phoenix Houses of
California, which provides daily treatment to 2,200 people,
says the rise in meth addicts is continuing.
also reflect the increase in the number of courts that focus
on drug cases and offer options for treatment instead of
jail. The number of marijuana users in treatment topped
298,000 in 2004, more than double the number from a decade
earlier. The data show that 57% of those treated for
marijuana use in 2004 entered treatment centers under court