Saturday, June 13, 2009

Feds assess market for illicit drugs, treatment trends

Via this Houston Chronicle story, I learned that the National Drug Intelligence Center this week issued its annual "market analyses" on illicit drug seizures, arrests, and trends in so-called High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs). Here are the Texas assessments:
One item that stood out in the charts and tables about each jurisdiction: In all four areas, according to the market analyses, adult admissions to publicly funded drug treatment facilities declined between 2006 and 2008, especially for harder drugs.

In Harris County, for example, the number of drug-related treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities declined over that period for powder cocaine (924-831), crack cocaine (1,798 to 1,607), and heroin (420 to 186). In the San Antonio HIDTA, drug treatment admissions declined from 2006 to 2008 in every category, which was the pattern in all TX jurisdictions, according to NDIC, with one exception: Admissions for heroin treatment increased in Dallas County, though they declined for meth and both crack and powder cocaine.

I find this trend especially curious because the state of Texas invested more than $200 million in new drug treatment and prison diversion programs beginning September 2007, so it seems like the numbers should be headed in the other direction. It makes me wonder about the quality of NDIC's data.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, wouldn't you be embarrassed if all of your claims that increased treatment is what saved the criminal justice system proved to be false? Gee, what if it was because people got punished. That would be awkward, wouldn't it? Once again, Grits challenges those numbers that don't fit the liberal Grits mindset.

Anonymous said...

What if it was because people are getting older, more mature and not as inclined to use "hard" drugs?

What if it was because of closure of some facilities? The list could go on and on.

It seems to me we should definately use critical thinking in an assessment of any statistics. Something about these numbers does seem wrong. I expect that is the point of this post.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

10:53 - I wouldn't be embarrassed at all, if that's what the data showed. There's never any reason to be embarrassed when evidence discovered later disproves an hypothesis, but that's not what I think is happening here.

My point was that we KNOW the number of state funded drug treatment slots expanded, and these data don't seem to reflect it. You're the only one here who's trying to force the data to support an agenda - I'm just trying to identify out the source of the discrepancy.

Anonymous said...

10:53 I agree with you.

Anonymous said...

I am certainly not a data person but I am an information person.

Another source for much of the information at the NDIC comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

And the data presented there varies from the statistics cited came from the Texas Dept. of State Health Services.

It is hard to say why because TDSHS does such a poor job of actually defining how/where their information is garnered and the site only provides county data up until the year 2002.

I did notice that at the SAMHSA site their reports did not include substance abuse treatment that was delivered at inhouse prison facilities, which might account for some of the disparity.

But the overall numbers that I found certainly did not reflect a reduction in treatment trends.

Anonymous said...

The decline is in the free world where there are is a lack of public treatment. You would have to go into the criminal justice system and that is no guarantee you will get it there. We must push to further make substance abuse a health issue and not a criminal justice issue.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet DSHS is only counting the facilities they fund, not those funded through TDCJ, which is where the increased capacity was.