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Frequently Asked Questions - Second Year Report Release
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Questions
  1. How many defendants entered SACPA treatment in its second year?
  2. When was SACPA implemented?
  3. Is there anything more recent?
  4. How many SACPA offenders entering treatment had entered drug treatment before SACPA?
  5. What type of drug treatment were SACPA offenders placed in?
  6. What is the completion rate for first year SACPA clients (data not yet available on completion rates in SACPA's second year)?
  7. What types of drugs were SACPA clients' primary drug? How does treatment completion rates relate to type of drug used?
  8. Are there any areas that Drug Policy Alliance is concerned about?
  9. What were the rates of probation or parole revocation for SACPA clients?
  10. What were SACPA eligible offenses in its second year?
  11. How many SACPA clients received at least 90 days of treatment?
Answers

1. How many defendants entered SACPA treatment in its second year?

35,947 SACPA-eligible offenders entered treatment in its second year (71.4% of total SACPA eligible offenders). This rate of SACPA eligible offenders entering treatment in the second year was slightly higher than the rate in SACPA's first year (69.2%). With the 30,469 offenders entering treatment in the first year, a total of 66,416 offenders have been diverted to treatment through Proposition 36 in its first two years.

2. When was SACPA implemented?

On July 1, 2004. Slightly over 3 years ago. The UCLA study is based only on data from the first and second years of implementation.

3. Is there anything more recent?

Drug Policy Alliance recently completed structured interviews with more than 70 key informants in 11 counties in the state, asking them what is working and not working well in Prop 36 in the first 3 years. Those interviewed included judges, district attorneys, public defenders, treatment professionals and program participants. We hope to publish this report in fall of 2004.

4. How many SACPA offenders entering treatment had entered drug treatment before SACPA?

About half of SACPA clients in each of the first two years were entering drug treatment for the first time. The effect of SACPA on first-time treatment exposure was most apparent for Hispanics, men, younger drug users, and methamphetamine users. Many first-time clients had a lengthy drug use history.

5. What type of drug treatment were SACPA offenders placed in?

Most clients were placed in outpatient drug-free programs (84.1% in the second year) or long-term residential programs (10.9%). 10.2% of clients reported heroin or other opiate as their primary drug. UCLA notes that "few" opiate addicts are receiving methadone, and recommends that methadone be provided to Prop. 36 eligible heroin users. Drug Policy Alliance blames judges, district attorneys and other unqualified but powerful players who oppose providing methadone based on their prejudices and ignorance. Only addiction specialists should be practicing addiction medicine in California.

6. What is the completion rate for first year SACPA clients (data not yet available on completion rates in SACPA's second year)?

About one-third (34.4%) of offenders who entered treatment in SACPA's first year completed treatment. These completion rates are roughly similar for non-Proposition 36 clients in treatment during the same timeframe and in other evaluations of drug treatment and drug courts. Data were not yet available on completion in SACPA's second year.

7. What types of drugs were SACPA clients' primary drug? How does treatment completion rates relate to type of drug used?

In its second year, about half of those entering treatment reported methamphetamine as their primary drug (53.0%), followed by cocaine/crack (13.2%), marijuana (12.1%), and heroin (10.2%). This data is consistent with first-year SACPA clients reported primary drug. SACPA treatment clients had longer drug use histories than clients referred to treatment by criminal justice sources other than SACPA. Concern has been raised regarding the treatment system's ability to meet clinical challenges presented by methamphetamine users. Findings suggest that treatment providers in SACPA have handled these challenges effectively with treatment completion and 90-day retention rates better for users of methamphetamine, cocaine/crack, and marijuana than for heroin users. Treatment completion and duration would likely improve for heroin-using clients if methadone maintenance were available to all who wish to receive it, as it is widely considered and cited as the best treatment for heroin users.

8. Are there any areas that Drug Policy Alliance is concerned about?

Yes. The Alliance is concerned that not enough money is being spent per client to provide the type of treatment that is recommended at assessment, or that prejudice against methadone maintenance among politicians or district attorney's is preventing heroin users from getting the help they need. In some counties demand for treatment exceeds the available funds. In some counties, too much money was given to non-treatment areas, including the district attorney's office, probation, or administration. The State Department of Drugs and Alcohol has failed thus far to intervene in counties that are misusing the treatment money, or to ensure access to methadone for those participants for whom it is recommended by treatment specialists.

Additionally, we are concerned that not all District Attorneys are fully complying with the law, and may be engaged in overcharging of defendants who would benefit from treatment diversion.

We are concerned that there is not enough culturally competent drug treatment to ensure better treatment outcomes for African American, Latino, Native American and Asian patients. The counties need to do a better job of opening up their planning and implementation processes to diverse communities, and to developing culturally appropriate interventions.

9. What were the rates of probation or parole revocation for SACPA clients?

One in five probationers (20.0%) had their SACPA probation revoked. This rate is lower than revocation rates typical of offenders on probation; a recent national study found 29% of adult probationers had their probation revoked. About three-quarters of SACPA offenders on probation had one or no drug violations recorded. Revocations are less common among SACPA probationers than among probationers overall, even though the risk of revocation is generally higher among probationers with a history of drug involvement.

Over half (60.0%) of SACPA parolees were recommitted to prison in the one-year period after referral to SACPA. This rate is typical of other drug-involved parolees who receive treatment while on parole. Recommitment rates are 50-60% among all parolees in California and the nation. For non-SACPA parolees who receive treatment, one-year recommitment rates were 55-66% overall.

10. What were SACPA eligible offenses in its second year?

Drug possession, being under the influence of drugs, and drug transportation for personal use are SACPA eligible offenses in all counties in SACPA's second year. Possession of drug paraphernalia and other drug-related offenses were SACPA eligible offenses in most, but not all, counties in SACPA's second year.

11. How many SACPA clients received at least 90 days of treatment?

Ninety days is widely cited as the minimum length of stay before treatment is likely to have a beneficial effect. Over half (54.9%) of SACPA outpatient clients and 42.8% of long-term residential clients received at least 90 days of treatment. Race/ethnic differences in treatment completion occurred among non-SACPA clients, as well as SACPA clients. Treatment completion and 90-day duration were less likely for African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans than for Whites and Asian/Pacific Islanders. Outpatient placement of high-severity clients was more common for African Americans in SACPA which may be due to geographic dispersion of residential programs supplying SACPA treatment.



 
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