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Many Arrested Men Use Illegal Drugs But Don’t Receive Treatment


A study of men arrested in five major U.S. cities finds more than 60 percent use illegal drugs, but most do not receive treatment.

The report found positive drug test results among arrested men range from 62 percent in Atlanta to 86 percent in Chicago, USA Today reports. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), 70 percent had never been in any form of drug or alcohol treatment.

The 2012 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Annual Report, included data from 1,736 men in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, New York and Sacramento, who were drug tested within 48 hours of their arrest. Marijuana was the mostly commonly used drug among arrested men, showing up in more than half of drug tests, the report found.

In Sacramento, 40 percent of men tested positive for methamphetamine, while fewer than 1 percent of men in Chicago, New York and Atlanta tested positive for the drug. In Denver, 13 percent tested positive for meth.

Positive tests for opiates, including heroin and painkillers such as oxycodone, increased in Denver in Sacramento, but decreased in Chicago and New York.

ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske said the report shows criminal justice reform is needed. The report “confirms an urgent need to support policy reform outlined in the Obama Administration’s new drug policy strategy, which emphasizes prevention, treatment, and ‘smart on crime’ policies that break the vicious cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration in America,” he said in a statement.

4 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Carol
    Carol / May 29, 2013 at 1:16 am

    “Marijuana was the mostly commonly used drug among arrested men, showing up in more than half of drug tests, the report found.”

    Actually, alcohol is the most common contributor of crime. ONDCP’s ADAM program refuses to disclose the self-reported data from the arrested, even though it’s asked on the ADAM questionnaire.

  2. Rob Fleming / May 28, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    What is even more tragic is that, at least in DC, many arrestees have had some treatment before they were arrested. Either it was too little classic treatment or was not followed up with enough recovery support to enable them to build a law-abiding life.

  3. jboside / May 28, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    This is very misleading. I think another question should be asked. “Have been offered AOD treatment and refused to go.” Many individuals decide that they don’t want to go or say they couldn’t get in, when in reality they have had treatment offered.

  4. Fr. Jack Kearney / May 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Drug Courts have shown to be very helpful here, but relatively few who need them can get in because of the restrictions. We would save a lot of money and untold misery if the criminal justice system was more flexible.

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