Several thousand individuals in the Washington, D.C. area sought treatment from state drug treatment programs for marijuana addiction every year in the past four years, according to records obtained by the News4 I-Team through the Freedom of Information Act.
These cases include several marijuana dependency cases involving women. “You’re not going to find a lot of people who are going to die from marijuana overdoses, but don’t discount the effects. It affects their life. There are adverse consequences to marijuana,” said Angela Caldwell, coordinator of Montgomery Recovery Services program.
There has been a $20 million increase in the cost of taxpayer-supported drug treatment between 2017 and 2018, according to records provided by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
About 4,000 people addicted to marijuana were admitted in health centers in Virginia in each of the past four years, and the majority of them are men. However, records also showed that a growing number of women between the ages of 31 and 40 also sought admission in state-run treatment programs.
According to Dr. Daniele Piomelli, professor of neurobiology at the University of California-Irvine, the number of Americans now dependent on the drug is approximately 2.7 million, as per recent estimates. “Epidemiological surveys indicate that eight to nine percent of adults and 17 percent of teenagers who try marijuana become addicted,” Piomelli told a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee panel in 2016.
For any help to deal with marijuana dependency, residents can call on the free and confidential hotline of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit their website.