In five major US cities, 60% of men arrested have used at least one illegal drug. Following the Obama administration’s policy of arrest over drug treatment, fewer than 15% have any sort of help overcoming their addictions.  Drug treatment may be especially necessary in this population.

Researchers collected data from 1,736 men arrested in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, New York and Sacramento. All were drug tested within 48 hours of their arrest. It’s not surprising that the number one drug found, marijuana, was found in more than 50% of the men. Other drugs varied by region:

  • Meth
    • 40% of the men arrested in Sacramento tested positive
    • 13% in Denver (up 10% in only one year)
    • Less than 3% in the other three cities
    • Cocaine
      • Nationwide, cocaine use has declined
      • Opiate drugs/Painkillers
        • Numbers were up in Denver and Sacramento and down in New York and Chicago (note: Chicago has historically been very high for these drugs)

In other data obtained from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 68% of jail inmates, 53% of state prison inmates and 46% of federal prison inmates either abuse or are addicted to drugs and alcohol. These stats have prompted comment:

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the report confirms an urgent need to fund prevention and drug treatment to “break the vicious cycle of drug use, crime and incarceration in America.”