A new federal study found significantly lower rates of substance abuse disorders among probationers and parolees in 2009 compared with previous years. At the same time, the percentage of parolees who got substance abuse treatment increased. The study found the rate of probationers and parolees who reported an unmet need for substance abuse treatment was lower in 2009 than in previous years.
Probationers and parolees were more likely than the general population to get some mental health treatment. However, they were also more likely to report an unmet need for such treatment. “While increased access to substance abuse treatment for people on probation or parole is welcome news, the study shows how much more work there is to do to improve community reentry for offenders with mental and substance use disorders,” said Pamela Hyde, administrator of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, said that “rates of drug abuse are much higher among adults in correctional systems than in the general population, so treating and preventing drug abuse disorders is significant in ensuring public safety.” The study was done by SAMHSA in collaboration with the National Institute of Justice.