Substance Abuse and Crime

A total of 1,102,335 arrests were made in 1997 for drug abuse violations. This total was 7 percent higher in 1997 than in 1996, 38 percent above the 1993 level and 48 percent higher than in 1988. (Federal Bureau of Investigation. (released November 22, 1998). Crime in the United States, Uniform Crime Reports, 1997, p. 221-23. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.)

Between 1992 and 1996, juvenile arrests for drug abuse violations increased 120 percent. (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (1997, December). "Capacity Building for Juvenile Substance Abuse Treatment." Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.)

Approximately 60 to 80 percent of the nation's correctional population have used drugs at some point in theirs lives; this is twice the estimated drug use of the total U.S. population. (Office of National Drug Control Policy, Drug Police Information Clearinghouse. (1998, August). Drug Treatment in the Criminal Justice System.)

At least half of the 104,000 drug- and alcohol-involved female inmates in the United States had minor-age children living with them before they entered prison. Many of these women receive little or no help from the children's father, lack supportive family and social networks and have limited or no financial resources. (Bureau of Justice Assistance. (1998, April). "La Bodega de la Familia: Reaching Out to the Forgotten Victims of Substance Abuse." Bulletin, citing, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, supra.)

In a recent Child Welfare League of America survey, state child welfare agencies estimated that parental chemical dependency was a contributing factor in the out-of-home placement of at least 53% of the child protection cases. (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (1998). Responding to Alcohol and

Other Drug Problems in Child Welfare: Weaving Together Practice and Policy, citing Child Welfare League of America. (1997). "Alcohol and Other Drug Survey of State Child Welfare Agencies." Draft Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.)

In fiscal 1995, the Drug Enforcement Administration made 13,783 domestic seizures of nondrug property, valued at approximately $645 million. (Office of National Drug Control Policy, Drugs and Crime Clearinghouse. (1996, July). Drugs and Crime Data -- Fact Sheet: Drug Data Summary, p. 3.)

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

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