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Drug arrest statistics: key takeaways

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2022 | Drug Crimes

Of all the incidents in which someone is arrested in the United States, about 26% of cases are drug-related. A total of 244,000 people in the United States go to prison every year for these types of offenses, which is something Maryland residents should keep in mind.

Being arrested versus being sent to prison

The number of yearly arrests for drug offenses is 1.16 million. This includes taking part in any part of the illegal drug market, which encompasses possessing, selling and manufacturing.

And perhaps one of the most chilling and telling of these statistics is that 80% of imprisoned inmates in the United States are abusing drugs or alcohol while they’re behind bars. Many experts believe that this speaks volumes about the effect of incarceration on those who are already struggling with addiction.

2020 saw a sharp decline in drug arrests

The number of people arrested for drug crimes across the nation went down dramatically in 2020. This stark contrast no doubt had to do with the different lifestyles that people were leading at that time. The drop exceeded 400,000 fewer arrests for drug offenses.

Prior to that, it was easy to see the pattern in drug-related arrests. Over the course of the past decade, 58% fewer people were arrested for possessing marijuana, and there were 68% fewer arrests for selling or manufacturing marijuana.

Early in the 2010s, cannabis was the main reason why people were arrested in the U.S. And while the drug may have lost its number one status for arrests at all stages of the drug production process, crimes related to marijuana alone still make up 11% of the arrests in the United States.

A grand total of 1.16 million people in America are arrested annually for drug-related charges. The pattern of drug arrests from 2010 to 2019 was steady and predictable, but 2020 was a major game-changer.