Substance Abuse and Crime

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Drugs and Crime Clearinghouse, the total number of arrests for narcotic drug citations in 1996 was 1,506,200. (Office of National Drug Control Policy, Drugs and Crime Clearinghouse. (1998, January). Based on information from the 1996 Federal Bureau of Crimes, Uniform Crime Reports.)

As part of ongoing research, the ONDCP Drugs and Crime Clearinghouse released information in 1996 summarizing current drug-related law enforcement, court, and corrections statistics, as well as drug use, drug production, and drug control spending information. (Office of National Drug Control Policy, Drugs and Crime Clearinghouse. (1996, July). Drugs and Crime Data -- Fact Sheet: Drug Data Summary, p. 1.)

In fiscal 1995, the Drug Enforcement Administration made 13,783 domestic seizures of nondrug property, valued at approximately $645 million. (Ibid., p. 3.)

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) 1995 High School Senior Survey, 48.4% of high school seniors reported use of an illicit drug at least once during their lifetime, 39% reported use of an illicit drug within the past year, and 23.8% reported use of a drug within the past month. (Ibid., p. 1)

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reported that of the 46,773 defendants convicted in federal courts between August 1994 and September 1995, 15,861 (34%) were convicted of federal drug offenses. (Ibid., p. 1)

According to the BJS Federal Justice Statistics Program, the average incarceration sentence length imposed on all federal offenders increased from 44 months in 1980 to 61 months in 1994, while the average sentence imposed on drug offenders increased from 47 months to 80 months during that same time period. The average incarceration sentence length imposed on defendants convicted of state drug charges in 1992 was 67 months, of which the estimated time served was 21 months. (Ibid., p. 3)

Drug offenders have accounted for an increasing percentage of the population in state and federal correctional facilities. Drug offenders constituted an estimated 22% of the state prison population in 1993, up from 6% of the population in 1979. In federal correctional facilities, drug offenders accounted for 61 percent of the federal inmate population in 1994, up from 61% of the population in 1970, 25% in 1980, and 52% in 1990. (Ibid., p. 3)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) 1994 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse reported that: 72 million (34.4%) of Americans aged 12 and older reported some use of an illicit drug at least once during their lifetime, 10.8% reported use during the past year, and 6.0% reported use in the month before the survey was conducted. (Ibid., p. 1)

A total of 8,541 drug abuse deaths were reported in 1993 by 145 medical examiners in 43 metropolitan areas. Drug abuse deaths usually involve drug overdoses, but they also include deaths in which drug usage was a contributory factor. (Ibid., p. 1)

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