The NY Times On Marijuana And Substance Use Treatment

The Times misses part of the story when they write:
"Nearly 70 percent of the teenagers in residential substance-abuse programs run by Phoenix House, which operates drug and alcohol treatment centers in 10 states, listed marijuana as their primary problem."
http://www.nytimes.com...

Indeed. However, the majority of treatment referrals for marijuana were directly through the criminal justice system or at least in anticipation of going through the criminal justice system. Treatment alternatives to incarceration and drug courts can be effective means of dealing with drug using offenders yet they sometimes cherry-pick people to be referred to treatment, choosing those with the greatest probability of success. People who do not use drugs problematically are the most likely to succeed in drug treatment, since they didn't have a problem in the first place:
"Additional results reveal that, in practice, large numbers of drug courts are admitting offenders who are abusing alcohol and marijuana, but may not be clinically dependent or abusing more serious drugs. Consistent with the number of courts admitting individuals with lower levels of substance use and the number admitting individuals with DWI/DUI offenses, 65.6 percent of courts reported that a participant can be admitted into drug court for alcohol abuse only. An even larger percentage of courts (87.7 percent) indicated that participants can enter drug court for marijuana abuse only. Allowing participants into drug court based on alcohol abuse only did not vary by type of geographic area; however, allowing participants into drug court based on marijuana abuse only did vary geographically (X2=10.2, p<.01). The majority of courts that do not accept participants into drug court based only on marijuana abuse are located in urban areas (62.2 percent), suggesting they may have a greater focus on more serious drug problems."
Source: Rossman, Shelli B., et al., "Final Report, Volume 2: The Multi-Site Adult Drug Court Evaluation: What's Happening with Drug Courts? A Portrait of Adult Drug Courts 2004" (Washington, DC: Urban Institute, June 2011), p. 27.

According to the federal Treatment Episode Data Set, in 2011 there were 333,578 admissions to treatment with marijuana reported as the primary substance of abuse out of the total 1,844,719 admissions for all substances that year.
According to the TEDS report:
"• Marijuana was reported as the primary substance of abuse by 18 percent of TEDS admissions aged 12 and older in 2011 [Table 1.1b].
"• The average age at admission for primary marijuana admissions was 24 years [Table 2.1a], although the peak age at admission for both genders in all race/ethnicities was 15 to 17 years [Figure 12]. Forty percent of marijuana admissions were under age 20 (vs. 11 percent of all admissions), and primary marijuana abuse accounted for 74 percent of all admissions aged 12 to 14 years and 76 percent of admissions aged 15 to 17 years [Tables 2.1a-b].
"• Non-Hispanic Whites accounted for 45 percent of primary marijuana admissions (32 percent males and 13 percent females), and non-Hispanic Black males accounted for 24 percent [Table 2.3a].
"• Twenty-five percent of primary marijuana admissions had first used marijuana by age 12 and another 32 percent by age 14 [Table 2.5].
"• Primary marijuana admissions were less likely than all admissions combined to be self- or individually referred to treatment (16 percent vs. 35 percent). Primary marijuana admissions were most likely to be referred by a criminal justice/DUI source (52 percent) [Table 2.6].
"• More than 4 in 5 marijuana admissions (85 percent) received ambulatory treatment compared with about 3 in 5 of all admissions combined (62 percent) [Table 2.7].
"• Fifty-six percent of primary marijuana admissions reported abuse of additional substances. Alcohol was reported by 41 percent [Table 3.8]."
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS): 2001-2011. National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services. BHSIS Series S-65, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4772. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013, p. 19; and p. 43, Table 1.1a.

Source: 

The New York Times, "What Science Says About Marijuana," by Philip M. Boffey, July 30, 2014.
http://www.nytimes.com...
Rossman, Shelli B., et al., "Final Report, Volume 2: The Multi-Site Adult Drug Court Evaluation: What's Happening with Drug Courts? A Portrait of Adult Drug Courts 2004" (Washington, DC: Urban Institute, June 2011), p. 27.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS): 2001-2011. National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services. BHSIS Series S-65, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4772. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013, p. 19; and p. 43, Table 1.1a.

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