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States Where Marijuana Is Illegal Typically See Higher Rates Of Treatment Admissions, Federal Study Says

Despite fears by critics that marijuana legalization would lead to sharp increases in problematic use, newly published data from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that states where cannabis sales remained illegal typically had the highest rates of treatment admissions for the drug.

The data, which was published last week and covers 2021, show admissions to substance use treatment services among people aged 12 and older who go to state-licensed facilities. All told, the SAMHSA report presents findings from nearly 1.5 million admissions nationwide over the course of the year.

Of all the tallied admissions nationwide in the new Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), 10.2 percent were for marijuana or hashish as the primary substance, according to the SAMHSA data. That’s the fourth most common substance after alcohol (34.8 percent of all admissions), heroin (20.2 percent) and methamphetamine (13.5 percent). It’s just above “other opiates/synthetics” such as pain medications or fentanyl (9.1 percent) and cocaine (5.6 percent).

In terms of states with the highest admissions rates where marijuana was the primary substance, on a per capita basis, the top 10 states were South Dakota (151 per 100,000 residents), Iowa (144), Connecticut (141), South Carolina (119),

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