Marijuana policy: Science matters

July 24, 2017

Susan R.B. Weiss, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Extramural Research

Eric M. Wargo, Ph.D
Science Writer
Office of Science Policy and Communications, Science Policy Branch 
National Institute on Drug Abuse

On August 28, 2017, the National Council for Behavioral Health, Advocates for Human Potential (AHP) and the ATTC Network are partnering to host the  2017 National Cannabis Summit in Denver: An objective national forum for changing public policy, public health, treatment and research. In today's blog post, plenary speaker Dr. Susan Weiss of the National Institute on Drug Abuse calls for science to lead our thinking about the complex subject of marijuana policy and public health. 

Laws around marijuana in many parts of the United States as well as around the world are rapidly changing. This is partly due to shifting attitudes: The public is becoming more supportive of policies that decriminalize or legalize marijuana, because prohibition has not prevented access to the drug and is seen as disproportionately harming minority lives and communities. Eight states plus the District of Columbia (DC) have now legalized recreational marijuana use for adults. There is also a widespread belief that marijuana may have therapeutic benefits, leading 29 states plus DC to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana. (Sixteen additional states have legalized a non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant, cannabidiol).

The quickest way to reduce time to treatment

July 17, 2017

Maureen Fitzgerald
Communications Coordinator, ATTC Network Coordinating Office
Editor, NIATx

What's the quickest way to reduce waiting time to treatment?

Two NIATx coaches, Scott Gatzke and Elizabeth Strauss, were quick to offer the same answer:

"Stop scheduling appointments."

Throwing out your appointment book might seem an unlikely solution to the wait-time problem. But walk-in appointments or "open access" have helped transform organizations like The APT Foundation in New Haven, Connecticut. In the first year of offering same-day service, average time to treatment decreased from 22 days to 8 days. 
"By the second year, it was down to 2 days, and today most people receive their first treatment or medication, or both, on the same day they walk in.”