Drug-Rehab Experiment Begins Sunday in California

  Drug-Rehab Experiment Begins Sunday in California

Posted by FoM on June 27, 2001 at 11:03:17 PT
By Don Thompson, Associated Press Writer 
Source: Associated Press  

The nation's biggest experiment in drug rehabilitation begins on Sunday in California amid warnings from officials in Los Angeles County that they do not have enough money to carry out their part. Proposition 36, passed last fall by the state's voters, will require treatment instead of prison or jail for the estimated 36,000 California nonviolent drug users convicted each year of use or possession for the first or second time. Treatment will range from counseling sessions to a stint at a rehab center. 
Arizona, the only other state with a similar program, diverts only about 6,000 drug offenders a year to treatment. California led the way in jailing drug users two decades ago and now locks up more drug offenders per capita than any other state, at 115 people per 100,000 population. That is more than twice the national average. Proponents of Proposition 36 said drug treatment addresses the root of the problem and saves money in the long run by reducing the need for prisons. Each of California 58 counties has its own plan to carry out Proposition 36, which allocates $120 million a year for implementation statewide. In Los Angeles County, California's biggest county with 9.5 million people, officials say their program could be overwhelmed and underfunded when it tries to handle a projected 17,000 cases -- about one-third of the state's expected eligible offenders -- with $30 million in state money. "The county's going to go into debt. We just don't know how much," said Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan, who supervises the county's drug courts. Elizabeth Stanley-Salazar, California director for Phoenix Houses, one of the nation's largest treatment providers, said she expects a fight between counties and the state over which is responsible for providing any additional funding. "At this moment we clearly have many more clients than we have funding for," said Stanley-Salazar, who sits on the state and Los Angeles County's Proposition 36 implementation task forces. "We're building the transcontinental railroad here, six inches at a time." Supporters of the initiative say officials are being alarmist. "There's a lot of `Chicken Little' going on in L.A.," said Whitney Taylor of the Lindesmith Center, a policy research institute. She said it is too soon to say whether the county will be overwhelmed. Drug offenders who want to stay out of jail and get help from one of the 300 or so private treatment services in Los Angeles County will have to enter a conditional guilty plea. They will then be supervised during treatment by one of 26 special judges. Offenders' records are cleared if they complete treatment. Under the county's current drug treatment program, offenders are tested up to six times a week during the early stages of treatment. But no money has been set aside for testing under Proposition 36, which has led to one of the most serious debates about the measure. Treatment proponents say counties like Los Angeles test far more often than necessary, driving up costs. Law enforcement officials say they need periodic tests to ensure that offenders stay drug-free during treatment. Both sides are supporting a bill in the Legislature that would provide an additional $18 million statewide for drug testing. Some counties have lowered their projections on the number of offenders who will be treated, after eliminating people with multiple offenses and estimating how many would show up for treatment. Al Medina, San Diego County's alcohol and drug services administrator, dropped his county's original projected caseload by one-third, but worries there are not enough residential programs for those needing long-term treatment to kick their habits. Bob Mimura, executive director of Los Angeles County's Criminal Justice Coordination Committee, said he hopes many small-time offenders accept a drug conviction instead and leave more funding for those who need more in-depth treatment. Those offenders, can "just take their conviction and maybe 30 days in jail and they're gone," Mimura said. With BC-Census-Prisons, BjtComplete Title: Drug-Rehab Experiment Begins Sunday in California, With L.A. County Warning It Needs More Money On the Net: California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs: Associated PressAuthor: Don Thompson, Associated Press WriterPublished: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 Copyright: 2001 Associated Press  Related Articles & Web Sites:TLC - DPF 36 Information Articles - Treatment

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Comment #6 posted by J.V. on August 30, 2001 at 15:07:15 PT:
is ther a hair test for marajuana?
hey i have a question is ther a hair test for marajuana cause my mom caught me and she works at a health center i only visit her like on holidays she said she wont tell anyone i live with unless i come up ther dirty on a hair test? she said it takes 6 months for it to clear out of my hair im just asking if that shit is true. Am i not able to smoke weed till after december? if thats true this is going to be true fuckin torture i need help.i am just asking if its safe for me to smoke a joint without it coming up in a hair tests.well bring me back good reply please be specific cause im fucked!
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Comment #5 posted by Billy Bong on June 29, 2001 at 07:37:09 PT
To call prop. 36 an "experiment" is absurd; it implies that if it does not work as well as some might like, CA can simply go back to jailing huge numbers of nonviolent drug offenders. Like it or not, narks, treatment is now the law of the land in CA! Next will come all out decriminilization!!! What a bummer for the vast CA prison-industrial complex!!! HA HA!!!
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Comment #3 posted by idbsne1 on June 27, 2001 at 16:49:37 PT

Stop complaining!
They're complaining as if the alterative (jailing people) is better AND cheaper. A big fat NO for both. Can't they see how much better it is for them to send drug offenders to treatment rather than jail? For those of you out there that feel that people SHOULD go to jail for drug possession or use, should think about who they let OUT to put a pothead IN. I've seen examples of rapists, pedafiles, and even murderers/manslaughterers go free on parole to make room. How ridiculous is that? The BEST way would be to legalize, that way, no worries about not having enough money to spend on rehabilitation; or do like the UK and make it JUST a fine, like a parking ticket. That way they could MAKE some money. Just my 2 cents...
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Comment #2 posted by Jose Melendez on June 27, 2001 at 13:32:31 PT:

Cannabis IS treatment.
Cannabis IS  technology with substance"What if YOUR drugs were illegal?"
"What if YOUR drugs were illegal?"
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Comment #1 posted by Dan B on June 27, 2001 at 13:10:28 PT:

Government-Mandated Treatment
We can expect to see a change in thetreatment/rehab industry as a result of government-mandated treatment similar to the trends we have witnessed for years due to federal government-mandated education. While there will be far more jobs for "counselors" in these treatment/rehab facilities, there will be an accompanying decrease in salaries for these jobs. This must happen; they cannot pay current wages for all of the people they will need.Lower pay will, of course, mean that only a few people will make much money (similar to the current situation in education where teachers make very little, principals make a little better than a living wage, and superintendents get comparatively rich). The result will be a cheapening of this so-called service, the implementation of more patients-as-counselors services (like Straight Inc.), and an epidemic of abuses by "counselors" of drug users forced into treatment similar to that found in nursing and convalescent homes across the country.Just as America cannot incarcerate drugs out of the culture, neither can the country expect to treat its way out of drugs. This fact remains: drugs are here to stay. It makes sense to provide treatment/counseling to those who want it. Waste occurs, however, when we begin forcing/coercing people into "treatment" by rule of law. Study after study shows that people are most likely to succeed in treatment if they are motivated to enter treatment on their own. These studies claiming that length of time in treatment is a major factor in success of treatment reveal only this: the longer you have to brainwash people, the more likely they are to become brainwashed. Brainwashing is not treatment. It is involuntary and, as such, a violation of human rights.If Prop. 36 fails, it will not be due to treatment being inherently ineffectual, nor will it be due to the removal of prison as an "incentive" for people to continue treatment. No, if Prop. 36 fails it will be because the government has continued its draconian policy of forcing individuals to comply with its arbitrary and infantile demands. A policy of "conform or else" has no place in a free society, and free-thinking people know this.Dan B
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