Admission Rates to Drug Treatment Programs Increased Since Passage of Proposition 36, Study Finds
Admission rates to drug treatment programs in five counties have increased "sharply" since voters in 2000 passed Proposition 36, which offers some nonviolent drug offenders treatment rather than prison, according to a study to be published in Tuesday's Evaluation Review journal, the Los Angeles Times reports. Researchers led by Yih-Ing Hser at the University of California-Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Institute found that admissions to treatment programs have risen 27% in Kern County, 21% in Riverside County, 17% in Sacramento County and 16% in San Diego County since the initiative took effect in July 2001. Only San Francisco County, which had an "extensive" diversion program and policies for prosecution before the proposition was approved statewide, did not report an increase in admission rates, the Times reports. The study also found that counties were having less success treating offenders with severe drug addictions, whose abuse was either complicated by mental illness or disability or who were homeless. The study showed that the offenders who were diverted from prison to treatment programs were more likely to be male first-time offenders who had full-time jobs and used methamphetamine and marijuana and that users of heroin and injection drugs were less likely to take part in the treatment programs. The five-year study, which is being funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to identify the best methods to treat drug offenders now that they are not being placed in prison, currently is in its first year (Thompson, Los Angeles Times, 10/14). An abstract of the study is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.