Few Addicted Prisoners Get Treatment

Research Summary

Less than 10 percent of inmates who need addiction treatment get services, according to a new study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The National Criminal Justice Treatment Practices Survey (NCJPS) found that "far too few programs and services exist, and the ones that do exist are only offered to a handful of offenders," said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow. "Since offenders are four times as likely as the general population to have a substance abuse disorder, treating the offender population could measurably lower the demand for drugs in our society, and reduce the crime rate."

"This survey can be used to assist policy makers and program officials in plotting a course to implement more effective services and delivery systems for the offender population," added study director Faye Taxman of Virginia Commonwealth University.

NIDA’s report represented the first findings from the NCJPS study, which is gathering data on treatment available across the broad spectrum of correctional settings, from jails and prisons to community corrections agencies.

The study was published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. Reference: Taxman, F.S., Young, D.W., Wiersema, B., Rhodes, A., Mitchell, S. (2007) The National Criminal Justice Treatment Practices survey: Multilevel survey methods and procedures. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 32(3): 225-238.

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