In early October, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a report that demonstrated how the War on Drugs continues to be a motivating factor for law enforcement, with over one million arrests in 2015 for “drug abuse.” The report, fittingly entitled “2015 Crime in the United States,” found that the most common reason for arrests during the year was for the aforementioned charge of drug abuse.
The Shocking Numbers
Out of 10,797,707 total arrests in the United States during 2015, an incredible 1,488,707 were arrests associated with drug abuse. Drug abuse related arrests is a catch-all category that includes all arrests made on charges related to possession, sale, and trafficking of drugs. The second highest reason for arrest was property related crimes, for which 1,463,213 arrests were made in 2015. The third highest category was also related to substance abuse, with 1,089,171 arrests made for drunk driving.
It should be noted that these figures represent the total number of arrests made, not the total number of individuals arrested. In other words, if a person was arrested on two-different occasions in 2015 for drug abuse related charges, they would count twice in the total arrest count listed above.
Breaking Down the Figures
The majority of the arrests for drug abuse related offenses were made for charges of possession, with 83.9% of drug-related falling into this subcategory. Arrests for manufacture or sale of drugs accounted for only 16.1% of drug arrests made in 2015.
The arrests for drug possession can be broken down even further: 38.6% of drug-related arrests were for possession of marijuana, while cocaine or heroin comprised 19.6%. Although marijuana arrest rates are at the lowest they have been since 1996, marijuana possession still accounted for roughly half of drug arrests in states that have yet to legalize cannabis use.
Associated Incarceration Rates
On the other side of the equation, prisons are seeing incarceration rates that align with arrest trends. According to figure released by the Bureau of Prisons, almost half of inmates are incarcerated for drug-related offenses. However, the Bureau has stated that these figures represent those incarcerated in federal prison, and that the individuals who make up that subset of the population have been convicted of trafficking. When it comes to state facilities, in which individuals may be incarcerated drug-related crimes besides trafficking, the Bureau has stated that the percentage of inmates being held for drug-related is considerably lower, comprising only 17% of the inmate population.
Don’t Become a Statistic
Not every addiction story has to end with an unfortunate arrest and incarceration. If you’re struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you may find yourself compelled to break the law, which can lead to an arrest — or worse! Don’t let this happen to you. Contact the Intervention Association, and we can help you find an addiction recovery program that will work for you. We have the tools to help you reach the road to recovery. Don’t hesitate any longer! Get the help you need today!