DRUGS AND CRIME FACTS, 1994
A summary of drug data published in 1994 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics
Drug data produced by BJS 2
Access to current drug data 4
Drug use by offenders at the time of offense 5
Prior drug use by offenders 8
Drug-related crime 9
Drug control budget 11
Drug law enforcement 12
Drug enforcement operations 14
Pretrial release of drug defendants 18
Prosecution and sentencing
of Federal drug law violators 20
of drug law violators in State courts 22
Drug offenders in correctional populations 24
Drug enforcement in correctional facilities 26
Recidivism of drug law violators 29
Drugs and youth 31
Drug use in the general population 35
Public opinion about drugs 36
ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse 38
Source notes 40
For more information call or write:
ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse
National Criminal Justice Reference Service
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Jan M. Chaiken, Ph.D.
This report was prepared for the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) by the Office of
National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse under Contract Number
OJP-94-C-006. The ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse is a component of the National
Criminal Justice Reference Service. At the ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse, Anita
Timrots prepared the report. In BJS, Benjamin H. Renshaw III and Sue A. Lindgren directed
Single copies of any report cited here or any other BJS publication can be ordered from
the ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse, National Criminal Justice Reference Service,
Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20849-6000, toll-free 800-666-3332.
Please order using NCJ numbers listed in the source notes, pages 36-37.
Public-use tapes for BJS data sets and other criminal justice data are available from
National Archive of Criminal Justice Data, P.O. Box 1248, Ann Arbor, MI 48106
(1-800-999-0960 or 1-313-763-5010). Please specify the ICPSR number shown in the source
notes, pages 36-37, when ordering.
DRUG DATA PRODUCED BY BJS
Many Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) programs produce data on drug law enforcement,
drug offenders, and drugs and crime. For example -- * the BJS National Crime Victimization
Survey (NCVS) asks victims of personal crimes if they believed the offenders had been
using drugs * the BJS Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS)
program produces information on drug-related programs of State and local police agencies
* the BJS National Pretrial Reporting Program (NPRP) examines drug law violators'
criminal histories and status at time of arrest, pretrial release/detention status, trial
appearance, and disposition
* the BJS National Judicial Reporting Program (NJRP) compares sentences given to drug
offenders with those given to other offenders
* BJS reports on Federal and State prisoners, jail inmates, and incarcerated youth
including data on their histories of drug use and drug offenses
- the BJS Federal Justice Statistics Program collects and publishes detailed data on drug
law violators in the Federal justice system
- * the annual BJS Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics presents data on drug use in
the general population and on public opinion toward drugs and enforcement of drug laws.
Drugs and crime facts, 1994 presents the most current information available relating to
drugs and crime published by BJS in over two dozen different reports through the end of
calendar 1994. This publication also highlights other drug data sources frequently used by
the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse in
responding to requests.
Among other BJS reports published in calendar 1994 were the following:
* Pretrial release of Federal felony defendants, 1990 (BJS Special Report, February
1994) examines the likelihood of pretrial release, type of release, and pretrial
misconduct of Federal defendants, including Federal drug offenders.
* Women in prison (BJS Special Report, March 1994) reports on female inmates in State
prisons in 1991 including prior drug and alcohol use, needle sharing behaviors, treatment,
and prior physical or sexual abuse of drug offenders.
* Comparing Federal and State prison inmates, 1991 (September 1994) describes the
results of the first joint survey of prisoners held in State and Federal prisons,
including data on the proportion of inmates incarcerated for a drug offense, prior drug
use, sentence length, prior treatment, use of a weapon, and HIV infection.
* Felony sentences in the United States, 1990 (BJS Bulletin, September 1994) compares
sentencing statistics on State and Federal courts, including the number of convictions for
drug offenses, type of sentence, sentence length, and estimated time to be served.
* National Corrections Reporting Program, 1992 (October 1994) is part of an annual
series detailing the characteristics of persons, including drug offenders, admitted to and
released from the prison and parole systems in the United States.
* Pretrial release of felony defendants, 1992 (BJS Bulletin, November 1994) reports on
criminal history, pretrial processing, pretrial misconduct, adjudication, and sentencing
of felony defendants, including drug offenders, in State courts in large urban counties.
* Federal law enforcement officers, 1993 (BJS Bulletin, December 1994) reports on the
number of Federal law enforcement officers authorized to carry firearms and arrest
offenders, including Federal drug law violators.
- Felony sentences in State courts, 1992 (BJS Bulletin, December 1994) reports on the
number of felony drug convictions, sentence type and length, and case processing time for
- * Felony defendants in large urban counties, 1992 (December 1994) describes demographic
characteristics, criminal history, pretrial release information, and sentencing for felony
offenders, including drug offenders, in the Nation's 75 most populous counties.
ACCESS TO CURRENT DRUG DATA
This issue of Drugs and crime facts summarizes drug data published by BJS in 1994 or
earlier. For updated analyses of drug data or more recently released reports, readers may
contact the ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse or send the order form at the end of
The Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse was established in 1987 by BJS, with funding from
the Bureau of Justice Assistance, to provide policymakers, criminal justice practitioners,
researchers, and the general public with ready access to understandable information on
drug law violations and drug-related law enforcement. In October 1994, the Clearinghouse
became a component of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS). ONDCP began
funding the Clearinghouse in November 1994. Clearinghouse products and services are
described in detail on pages 34-35.
The toll-free line is 1-800-666-3332.
Many of the reports cited in this publication are accessible through the Internet or
the NCJRS Electronic Bulletin Board System (*BBS).
The NCJRS Gopher provides information from the Office of Justice Programs agencies, as
well as the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and provides a direct link to the
NCJRS*BBS. The gopher address is: ncjrs.aspensys.com 71 Through the World Wide Web, NCJRS
provides a graphical interface to NCJRS information, as well as to information from other
criminal justice resources around the world. The address for the NCJRS World Wide Web page
First-time users of NCJRS can send an e-mail message to receive a reply outlining the
services of NCJRS to: email@example.com
For technical assistance or specific questions on drugs and crime or other criminal or
juvenile justice topics, please send an e-mail to:
To access the NCJRS*BBS through the Internet-- * telnet to: ncjrsbbs.aspensys.com
* gopher to: ncjrs.aspensys.com 71
To access the NCJRS*BBS directly, dial: (301) 738-8895. Modems should be set up to 9600
baud at 8-N-1.
DRUG USE BY OFFENDERS AT THE TIME OF OFFENSE
The BJS National Crime Victimization Survey asks victims of the violent crimes of rape,
robbery, and assault about their perceptions of the offender's use of alcohol and drugs.
In 30% of violent crime victimizations in 1992, victims reported that they believed their
assailants were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In half of violent crime
victimizations, the victim did not know whether the offender was under the influence.
Violent offenders under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as perceived by victims,
Percent of violent crime victimizations where victim perceived the offender to be:
Type of Not under if under
crime Total the influence the influence
Crimes of 100% 20.8% 49.9%
Rape 100 23.1* 38.3
Robbery 100 15.2 59.9
assault 100 12.7 55.9
assault 100 27.2 41.8
Percent of violent crime victimizations where victim perceived the offender to be:
Under the influence
Type of Alcohol Drugs sure which
crime Total only only Both substance
violence 30.2% 18.0% 4.3% 6.1% 1.6%
Rape 38.6 18.2* 8.0* 12.4* 0.0*
Robbery 24.9 10.8 5.4 6.1 2.6*
assault 31.4 16.7 4.3 8.2 1.8*
assault 31.1 21.3 3.7 4.7 1.2
Note: Percents may not total 100% because of rounding.
*Estimate is based on 10 or fewer sample cases
Source: Criminal victimization in the United States, 1992.
Data from BJS corrections surveys show that a quarter of convicted jail inmates, a
third of State prisoners, and two-fifths of youths in long-term, State-operated facilities
admit that they were under the influence of an illegal drug at the time of their offense.
Among jail inmates in 1989--
* 44% used drugs in the month before the offense
* 30% used drugs daily in the month before the offense
* 27% used drugs at the time of the offense.
Jail inmates convicted of drug offenses most frequently reported having been under the
influence of drugs at the time of their offense (39%), followed by convicted burglars
(38%) and robbers (36%). Jail inmates convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) (12%),
assault (14%), and homicide (18%) were the least likely to report having been under the
influence of drugs at the time of the offense.
Reported drug use by convicted prison and jail inmates
Percent who used Percent who used drugs at the time drugs in the month of the offense
before the offense
1989 1991 1989 1991
Drug Type Jail Prison Jail Prison
inmates inmates inmates inmates
Any drug 27% 31% 44% 50%
Marijuana 9 11 28 32
Cocaine/crack 14 14 24 25
Heroin/opiates 5 6 7 10
Sources: Drugs and jail inmates, 1989. Survey of State prison inmates, 1991.
In 1991, 49% of all State prison inmates reported that they were under the influence of
drugs or alcohol or both at the time they committed the offense for which they were
currently sentenced: 17% were under the influence of drugs only, and 14% were under the
influence of drugs and alcohol.
Half of the State prisoners said they had taken illegal drugs during the month before
committing the crime.
Among violent offenders in State prisons--
* 61% said that they or their victims were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at
the time of the offense
* 50% reported being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the offense
* 30% said their victims were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Nearly 40% of the youth incarcerated in long-term, State-operated facilities in 1987
said they were under the influence of drugs at the time of their offense.
Data from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) program
revealed that of a sample of adult males arrested in 23 U.S. cities in 1993, the percent
testing positive for any drug ranged from 54% in Omaha and San Jose to 81% in Chicago.
Among the 20 cities reporting data on female arrestees, the percent of females testing
positive for any drug ranged from 42% in San Antonio to 83% in Manhattan.
Sources: Criminal victimization in the United States, 1992. Drugs and jail inmates,
Survey of State prison inmates, 1991. Survey of youth in custody, 1987. U.S. Department
of Justice, National Institute of Justice, Drug Use Forecasting 1993 Annual Report on
PRIOR DRUG USE BY OFFENDERS
Data from BJS surveys show that 78% of jail inmates in 1989, 79% of State prisoners in
1991, 60% of Federal prisoners in 1991, and 83% of youth in long-term public juvenile
facilities in 1987 had used drugs at some point in their lives.
Although drug use by State prison inmates in the month before the offense fell between
1986 and 1991, a higher proportion of inmates reported use of cocaine or crack in 1991
than 1986. One in three inmates who ever used drugs in the past used a needle to inject
drugs. Fifteen percent of inmates who had ever used drugs had shared a needle at least
Prior drug use by State prison inmates
Percent of inmates who had ever used drugs
Type of drug 1986 1991
Any drug 80% 79%
Marijuana 76 74
Cocaine/crack 44 50
Heroin/opiates 26 25
Among 1989 jail inmates who used drugs, the median age at which they began to use--
* any drug was 16
* a major drug (including heroin, crack, cocaine, PCP, LSD, and methadone) was 18
* a major drug regularly was 20.
Sixty percent of jail inmates who ever used any drug reported they had done so more
than a year before their first arrest. Of inmates who reported using a major drug
regularly, 55% had not done so until after their first arrest.
Almost 83% of youth in long-term, State-operated juvenile facilities in 1987 reported
use of an illegal drug in the past, and 63% had used an illegal drug on a regular basis.
The most commonly mentioned drugs were marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines.
Among drug-using youth in long-term, State- operated juvenile facilities, 19% said they
first used drugs before age 10; 38% reported their first use was before age 12.
Sources: Drugs and jail inmates, 1989. Survey of State prison inmates, 1991. Comparing
Federal and State prison inmates, 1991. Survey of youth in custody, 1987.
Overall, 10% of Federal prison inmates in 1991, 17% of State prison inmates in 1991,
and 13% of convicted jail inmates in 1989 said they committed their offense to obtain
money for drugs. Twenty percent of Hispanic State prison inmates said they committed their
offense to get money for drugs, compared to 15% of white inmates and 17% of black inmates.
Twenty-four percent of female inmates said they committed their offense to get money to
buy drugs, compared to 16% of male inmates.
Inmates incarcerated for robbery, burglary, larceny, and drug trafficking most often
committed their crime to obtain money for drugs.
Inmates who committed homicide, sexual assault, assault, and public-order offenses were
least likely to commit their offense to obtain money for drugs.
Percent of inmates who committed their offense for money to buy drugs
Most Federal State
serious prison prison Jail
current inmates inmates inmates
offense 1991 1991 1989
All offenses 10% 17% 13%
Violent offenses 18% 12% 12%
Homicide(a) 3 5 3
Sexual assault(b) 0 2 2
Robbery 27 27 32
Assault 2 6 3
Property offenses 9 26 24
Burglary 32 30 31
Larceny/theft 13 31 28
Motor vehicle theft -- -- 7
Drug offenses 9 22 14
Possession 7 16 10
Trafficking 10 25 19
offenses 6 5 3
(a) Includes murder, nonnegligent manslaughter,
and negligent manslaughter.
(b) Includes rape.
-- Not reported
The Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
reported that in 1993, 5.5% of the 23,271 homicides in which circumstances were known were
narcotics- related. This includes only those murders that occurred specifically during a
narcotics felony, such as drug trafficking or manufacturing. Those homicides that involved
a narcotics felony and a more serious felony, such as armed robbery, were not tabulated as
Year of homicides drug-related
1986 19,257 3.9%
1987 17,963 4.9
1988 17,971 5.6
1989 18,954 7.4
1990 20,273 6.7
1991 21,676 6.2
1992 22,716 5.7
1993 23,271 5.5
Note: Includes only those homicides where circumstances were known. Table constructed
by ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse staff from Crime in the United States, 1991
through 1993 (FBI), p. 21.
A study of murder cases disposed in the Nation's 75 most populous counties in 1988
found that circumstances involving illegal drugs, such as a drug scam or dispute over
drugs, accounted for 18% of the defendants and 16% of the victims. In 7% of cases, victims
and their killers were both at the murder scene because of drugs. Of victims, 12% were
involved with the killer in a drug relationship.
Sources: Comparing Federal and State prison inmates, 1991. Survey of State prison
inmates, 1991. Drugs and jail inmates, 1989. Women in jail 1989. Murder in large urban
counties, 1988. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States, 1991 through
DRUG CONTROL BUDGET
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP),the Federal drug
control budget increased from $1.5 billion in fiscal 1981 to $13.2 billion in fiscal 1995.
Total Federal drug control budget
FY 1981 actual $ 1,531,800
FY 1989 actual 6,663,700
FY 1990 actual 9,758,900
FY 1991 actual 10,957,600
FY 1992 actual 11,910,100
FY 1993 actual 12,265,300
FY 1994 estimate 12,136,200
FY 1995 requested 13,179,800
Fiscal 1995 Federal drug control budget by function
Drug treatment $ 2,874,400
Education, community action, and the workplace 2,050,700
Criminal justice system 5,926,900
ONDCP also reported that State and local governments spent $15.9 billion on drug
control activities during fiscal 1991, a 13% increase over the $14.1 billion spent during
State and local spending for drug control, fiscal years 1990 and 1991
Total $14,075,000 $15,907,000
Justice $11,525,000 $12,619,000
Police protection 4,035,000 4,223,000
Judicial and legal
services 1,346,000 1,449,000
Corrections 6,045,000 6,827,000
Other 100,000 120,000
Health and hospitals $ 2,184,000 $ 2,784,000
Education $ 366,000 $ 503,000
Source: Office of National Drug Control Policy, as reported in Fact sheet: Drug data
DRUG LAW ENFORCEMENT
Federal, State, and local agencies share responsibility for enforcing the Nation's drug
laws, although most arrests are made by State and local authorities. State and local
police made an estimated 1.1 million arrests for drug law violations in 1993, according to
Estimated number of arrests for drug violations reported by State and local police,
Year Sale/manufacture Possession Total
1984 155,848 552,552 708,400
1985 192,302 619,098 811,400
1986 206,849 617,251 824,100
1987 241,849 695,551 937,400
1988 316,525 838,675 1,155,200
1989 441,191 920,509 1,361,700
1990 344,282 745,218 1,089,500
1991 337,340 672,660 1,010,000
1992 338,049 728,351 1,066,400
1993 334,511 791,789 1,126,300
1984-93 114.6% 43.3% 59.0%
Note: Table constructed by ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse staff from Federal
Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States, 1984 through 1993.
As reported in the 1993 BJS Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics--
* the Federal Government seized 6,605 clandestine drug laboratories between fiscal
years 1975 and 1993
* in fiscal year 1993, of the 286 labs seized, 237 (83%) manufactured methamphetamines
* in 1993 the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) program for eradicating domestic
marijuana resulted in the destruction of393 million plants in 64,132 plots, 12,397
arrests, 6,062 weapons seized, and assets seized valued at $52 million
* in fiscal year 1993 DEA confiscated 133,665 pounds of cocaine, 1,590 pounds of
heroin, 39 pounds of opium, 314,054 pounds of marijuana, 2.8 million dosage units of
hallucinogens, and 80.5 million dosage units of stimulants
* in fiscal year 1993 the DEA completed 16,690 asset seizures valued at $680 million
* in fiscal year 1993 the U.S. Customs Service seized 507,249 pounds of marijuana,
175,318 pounds of cocaine, and 17.9 million dosage units of drugs such as LSD and
* in 1993 the U.S. Coast Guard confiscated 48,441 pounds of marijuana and 32,313 pounds
* in fiscal year 1993 the U.S. Postal Service made 2,193 arrests for mailing controlled
* in 1992 State and Federal courts authorized wiretaps in 634 narcotics cases.
Drug seizure data from different Federal agencies should not be added together because
in many instances more than one agency participated in the operations. The Federal-wide
Drug Seizure System (FDSS) reflects the combined drug seizure efforts of the DEA, FBI, and
the U.S. Customs Service within the jurisdiction of the United States, as well as maritime
seizures by the U.S. Coast Guard. FDSS eliminates duplicate reporting of a seizure
involving more than one Federal agency.
Preliminary data indicate that the following amounts of drugs were seized in fiscal
1993 by the Federal agencies participating in FDSS:
Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States, 1984 through
1993. The Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Customs Service,
the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Service, and the Administrative
Office of the U.S. Courts; all as reported in the BJS Sourcebook of criminal justice
statistics, 1993. ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse, Fact sheet: Drug data summary.
DRUG ENFORCEMENT OPERATIONS
As reported in Federal law enforcement officers, 1993, as of December 1993, Federal
agencies employed about 69,000 full-time personnel authorized to make arrests and carry
firearms. The DEA employed 2,813 full-time agents. These officers investigate major
narcotics violators, enforce regulations governing the manufacture and dispensing of
controlled substances, and perform a variety of other functions in support of drug
trafficking prevention and control.
The FBI employed 10,075 full-time agents. These agents investigate more than 250 types
of Federal crimes. The FBI has concurrent jurisdiction with the DEA over drug offenses
under the Controlled Substances Act.
According to the BJS Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS)
program, in 1990, about 9,300 local police departments, 2,500 sheriffs' departments, and
34 State police departments, employing over 500,000 full-time officers, had primary
responsibility for drug law enforcement.
Drug-related law enforcement activities include making arrests and seizing drugs as
well as laboratory testing of drugs, drug education, and drug testing of arrestees and
agency employees. Most agencies serving 50,000 or more residents operated a special drug
enforcement unit, participated in a multiagency task force, and received money or goods
from an asset forfeiture program:
* Special drug units focus on conducting investigations on drug traffickers and
drug-related activities in the community.
* To coordinate efforts with other law enforcement agencies to accumulate evidence,
most large agencies participate in a multiagency task force. These task forces develop
enforcement strategies such as the use of informants, surveillance, and undercover
* Most States have laws that allow the government to seize convicted drug traffickers'
assets, such as cash, bank accounts, planes, boats, cars, and homes. Many State laws
require that all forfeited assets go to the State and/or local treasury upon payment of
outstanding loans. In some States, law enforcement agencies can keep all property, cash,
and proceeds from sales of what is forfeited.
Drug-related participation by agencies with primary drug enforcement responsibilities,
Percent of agencies with primary responsibility for drug enforcement that:
Type of Participate or goods from agency and Operate in a drug asset population special
multiagency forfeiture served drug unit task force program
departments 85% 91% 94%
All sizes 25% 51% 38%
more 93 93 86
500,000-999,999 95 100 96
250,000-499,999 100 87 100
100,000-249,999 96 86 98
50,000-99,999 94 81 95
25,000-49,999 62 82 85
10,000-24,999 36 65 62
2,500-9,999 19 55 33
Under 2,500 5 28 11
All sizes 39% 68% 51%
more 92 95 95
500,000-999,999 90 97 97
250,000-499,999 86 91 94
100,000-249,999 77 86 88
50,000-99,999 75 72 81
25,000-49,999 44 80 53
10,000-24,999 28 66 42
Under 10,000 11 49 27
Note: Table includes only agencies with primary responsibility for drug enforcement.
Source: Drug enforcement by police and sheriffs' departments, 1990.
* 45% of State police agencies had primary responsibility for laboratory testing of
drugs, but only the largest municipal and county agencies tended to have such
* 90% of municipal police departments with 100 or more officers had special units for
drug education in the schools, while 60% operated special gang units
* 94% of State police departments, 38% of local police, and 51% of sheriffs'
departments received money or goods from an asset forfeiture program. More than 1 in 3
local police and sheriffs' departments and 2 in 3 State police departments reported that
at least some of their arrestees were tested for illegal drug use.
One of four local police and sheriffs' departments and 1 of 2 State police departments
required applicants for sworn positions to submit to a drug test.
Employees tested for drugs in a mandatory testing program in State and local police and
sheriffs' departments, by size of population served, 1990
Percent of agencies with a mandatory testing program for:
agency and Regular
population Probationary field
served Applicants* officers officers
departments 55% 6% 4%
All sizes 26% 4% 2%
1,000,000 or more 79 29 0
500,000-999,999 71 29 8
250,000-499,999 85 8 5
100,000-249,999 63 7 1
50,000-99,999 71 7 1
25,000-49,999 52 7 4
10,000-24,999 44 7 3
2,500-9,999 25 4 1
Under 2,500 14 3 2
All sizes 23% 4% 3%
1,000,000 or more 46 0 0
500,000-999,999 42 5 4
250,000-499,999 40 7 0
100,000-249,999 44 3 2
50,000-99,999 33 5 3
25,000-49,999 26 7 7
10,000-24,999 15 2 1
Under 10,000 14 2 1
Percent of agencies with a mandatory testing program for:
Type of agency Candidates Officers in and population for drug-related served promotion*
departments 2% 10%
All sizes 2% 3%
1,000,000 or more 21 43
500,000-999,999 18 25
250,000-499,999 14 13
100,000-249,999 7 10
50,000-99,999 9 14
25,000-49,999 6 6
10,000-24,999 2 5
2,500-9,999 1 2
Under 2,500 1 1
All sizes 3% 4%
1,000,000 or more 4 10
500,000-999,999 0 7
250,000-499,999 0 6
100,000-249,999 3 6
50,000-99,999 3 5
25,000-49,999 6 7
10,000-24,999 1 2
Under 10,000 1 2
Note: Mandatory programs are those in which all are tested.
*Sworn positions only.
Sources: Federal law enforcement officers, 1993.
Drug enforcement by police and sheriffs' departments, 1990. State and local police
departments, 1990. Sheriffs' departments 1990.
PRETRIAL RELEASE OF DRUG DEFENDANTS
The National Pretrial Reporting Program (NPRP) revealed that of persons charged with a
felony drug offense in 1992 in the 75 most populous counties--
* 68% were released prior to case disposition
* 27% were held with bail set
* 5% were held without bail.
The median amount of bail set for a person charged with a drug offense was $5,000.
Defendants charged with a drug offense were more likely to secure release (29%) when bail
was set at $20,000 or more than those charged with a violent offense (17%), public-order
offense (18%), or a property offense (11%).
Of felony drug defendants released prior to the disposition of their case, 51% were
released within 1 day of their arrest, 79% within 1 week, and 93% within 1 month.
Of felony drug defendants released before case disposition, 27% failed to make a
scheduled court appearance within 1 year. Seventy percent of the defendants who failed to
appear returned to court by the end of the 1-year study period, while 30% remained
Sixteen percent of released drug defendants were known to have been rearrested while on
Of all released defendants rearrested for a drug offense, 59% were once again granted
Pretrial status of defendants charged with drug offenses, 1988-92
Pretrial status and type of
release 1988 1990 1992
Total 100% 100% 100%
Released 72% 65% 68%
Financial total 36% 28% 27%
Surety 19 18 15
Full cash 10 7 7
Deposit 6 3 5
Other 1 1 1
Nonfinancial total 36% 35% 39%
Detained 28% 35% 32%
Note: Detail may not add to total because of rounding.
Percent of felony defendants released before trial, by type of offense, 1988-92
Most serious felony Percent released prior arrest charge to case disposition
1988 1990 1992
All offenses 66% 65% 63%
Murder 39 37 24
Rape 55 54 48
Robbery 52 51 50
Assault 69 75 68
Burglary 53 56 51
Theft 64 67 67
Drug offenses 72 65 68
Sales/trafficking 69 61 66
Other 75 70 71
Public-order 70 69 65
Data from the Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP) showed that in 1990, 54% of
Federal drug defendants were released prior to case disposition. About half of these
releases occurred within 1 day of arrest, 76% within 1 week, and 89% within 1 month.
Pretrial status of Federal defendants charged with drug offenses, 1990
Pretrial status and type of release
Unsecured bond 23
Held on bail 10
Denied bail 37
* Includes deposit bond, surety bond, and property
Of Federal drug defendants released prior to case disposition, 18% committed pretrial
* 4% failed to appear in court as scheduled
- 4% were rearrested for a new offense
- 11% committed a technical violation, including reporting violations and violations of
conditions involving the use of illegal drugs.
Sources: Pretrial release of felony defendants, 1992. Pretrial release of felony
defendants, 1990. Pretrial release of felony defendants, 1988. Pretrial release of Federal
felony defendants, 1990 .
PROSECUTION AND SENTENCING OF FEDERAL DRUG LAW VIOLATORS
The number of suspects prosecuted for drug offenses increased from 7,697 in 1981 to
25,663 in 1991. U.S. attorneys declined to prosecute 22.3% (7,814) of suspected drug
offenders who were investigated in matters closed in 1991, a lower percentage than for
offenders suspected of violent offenses (29.5%), property offenses (48.5%), and
public-order offenses (36%).
The number of persons convicted of violating Federal drug laws rose to 17,349 in 1991
from 5,981 in 1981. This 190% increase exceeded the 53% growth in U.S. district court
convictions for all Federal offenses during the same years and accounted for over 67% of
the total increase in Federal convictions.
The number of defendants convicted of drug possession offenses increased from 498 in
1981 to 1,163 in 1991 -- a 134% increase. Drug possession convictions were 7% of all drug
convictions in 1991.
Drug offenses accounted for 19% of all defendants convicted in 1981 and 35% of all
defendants convicted in 1991. Drug trafficking offenses alone accounted for 33% of all
defendants convicted in 1991. The conviction rate for drug defendants increased from 76%
in 1981 to 84% in 1991.
The percentage of offenders convicted of drug offenses sentenced to prison rose from
73% in 1981 to 87% in 1991.
The average prison sentence for persons charged with Federal drug violations was longer
than for all other offenses except violent crimes in 1991.
Average sentence length for persons sentenced to Federal prisons for drug and nondrug
All offenses 62 mos.
Violent offenses 91
Property offenses 21
Federal drug offenses 86
Public-order offenses 38
Drug offenders are receiving longer sentences and are serving a larger percentage of
their sentence than in the past. The average Federal prison sentence for drug offenses
rose from 62 months in 1986 to 86 months in 1991. The average percent of sentence served
until first release increased from 60% in 1985 to 68% in 1990. Contributing to these
increases are the sentencing guidelines that went into effect in 1987 and the 1986 and
1988 anti-drug abuse laws which prescribed stiffer sentences and mandatory minimum
incarceration terms for Federal offenders.
Sources: Federal drug case processing 1985-91:
With preliminary data for 1992. Federal criminal case processing, 1982-91: With
preliminary data for 1992. Federal sentencing in transition, 1986-90. Federal criminal
case processing, 1980-1987.
PROSECUTION AND SENTENCING OF DRUG LAW VIOLATORS IN STATE COURTS
In the United States in 1990 there were an estimated--
* 324,235 adults arrested for drug trafficking
* 168,360 felony drug trafficking convictions
* 129,637 drug traffickers sentenced to incarceration
* 82,496 drug traffickers sentenced to State prison or 25 for every 100 drug
trafficking arrests. According to data from the BJS National Prosecutor Survey Program, in
1992, 1 in 5 State prosecutors' offices had a specialized narcotics unit. Based on
statutes enacted in the previous 3 years--
* 23% of the offices prosecuted cases based on recently enacted statutes addressing
controlled substances, such as anabolic steroids and precursor chemicals
* 21% prosecuted cases addressing illegal drugs in a school zone
- 9% prosecuted cases for drug possession.
- The number of drug trafficking convictions in
State courts more than doubled between 1986 and 1990. Of persons convicted of drug
State courts in 1990--
* 85% were male
* 42% were white, 57% black, and 1% of other races
* the average age was 30
* 50% were between ages 20 and 29.
Ninety percent of drug trafficking convictions in 1990 resulted from guilty pleas; 4%
resulted from jury trials; and 4% resulted from bench trials.
Drug offenders comprised a third of all persons convicted of a felony in State courts
Drug traffickers accounted for 20% of all convicted felons; drug possessors also
accounted for 13% of all convicted felons.
Seventy-seven percent of persons convicted of drug trafficking in 1990 were sentenced
to some kind of incarceration: 28% to jail and 49% to prison; 23% were sentenced to
probation. The average prison sentence for persons convicted of drug trafficking was 6
years 2 months, of which the estimated time to be served was 1 year 11 months.
Disposition of felony arrests in State courts In the United States, 1990
For 100 arrests:
Sentenced to incarceration
offense Convicted Total Prison
Murder* 55 52 50
Rape 54 47 36
Robbery 37 33 27
Aggravated assault 13 10 6
Burglary 38 28 20
Drug trafficking 52 40 25
*Includes nonnegligent manslaughter.
Source: Felony sentences in State courts, 1990.
Of persons convicted of drug possession, 29% were sentenced to jail, 35% to prison, and
36% to probation. The average prison sentence was 4 years 1 month, of which the estimated
time to be served was 13 months.
Mean State prison sentence and estimated time to be served in prison, 1990
serious State Estimated
conviction prison time to be
offense sentence served(a)
Murder(b) 243 mos. 104 mos.
Rape 160 62
Robbery 115 45
Aggravated assault 78 26
Burglary 80 26
Larceny(c) 49 13
Drug offenses 66 19
Trafficking 74 23
Possession 49 13
(a)Derived by multiplying percentage of sentence actually served by the mean sentence
imposed. Percentage of sentence actually served was estimated by the source from table
2-8, National corrections reporting program, 1989 (NCJ-138222), November, 1992.
(b)Includes nonnegligent manslaughter.
(c)Includes motor vehicle theft.
Source: Felony sentences in State courts, 1990.
The average (mean) time from arrest to sentencing was 223 days for a drug trafficking
case resulting in a State court conviction in 1990. The average time was 286 days for jury
trials, 219 days for bench trials, and 221 days for guilty pleas. Of 27,052 drug offenders
sentenced to probation in 1986 in 32 counties across 27 States--
* 61% had a probation sentence combined with a jail term
* 20% were not recommended for probation by the probation department
* 11% were assigned to intensive supervision
* 38% were required to participate in a drug treatment program
* 48% were required to be tested for drug use.
According to probation records, among probationers with known drug problems, 42% were
not required to submit to drug testing or participate in drug treatment.
Sources: Felony sentences in State courts, 1990.
Prosecutors in State courts, 1992. Recidivism of felons on probation, 1986-89.
DRUG OFFENDERS IN CORRECTIONAL POPULATIONS
Drug law violators make up a growing share of the prison and jail population:
* drug offenders accounted for 61% of sentenced inmates in Federal prisons in 1993, up
from 38% in 1986 and 25% in 1980
* the proportion of drug offenders in State prisons increased from 9% in 1986 to 21% in
* the proportion of drug offenders in local jails increased from 9% in 1983 to 23% in
Of State prisoners in 1991:
* 8% were sentenced for drug possession and 13% were sentenced for drug trafficking
* women were more likely to be incarcerated for a drug offense than men (33% versus
* inmates serving time for drug trafficking accounted for 3% of inmates sentenced to
life or death
* blacks were more likely to be serving time for a drug offense than whites (25% versus
12%), but less than Hispanic inmates (33%).
*Obtained by ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse from Bureau of Prisons Key
Indicators Strategic Support System, January 25, 1994.
In 1991, 10% of the 57,661 juveniles detained in public juvenile facilities were
committed for drug-related offenses, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention, as presented in the 1993 BJS Sourcebook of Criminal Justice
Statistics. Juveniles held in facilities, by type of offense,
or committed for: Male Female
Delinquent offenses 97% 81%
Offenses against persons 33 20
Property offenses 37 30
Alcohol offenses 1 1
Drug-related offenses 10 5
Public-order offenses 4 5
Other delinquent offenses 12 19
Nondelinquent reasons 3 19
The BJS 1990 Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities reported on drug
treatment and intervention programs for 1,024 correctional facilities. Prisons may offer
many types of drug intervention or treatment: detoxification, counseling, education and or
awareness programs, urine surveillance, and treatment in special residential units within
* Federal facilities reported they could test 33% of inmates for drugs; State
confinement facilities, 10%; and community-based facilities, 57%.
* Counseling was available for 14% of inmates in Federal facilities, 12% in State, and
48% in community-based facilities.
* Residential treatment program capacity was from 1% to 2% of inmate population for all
types of institutions.
Of all Federal inmates, 9% were enrolled in some form of drug treatment on June 29,
1990. Among State prisoners, 14% in confinement facilities were enrolled and 37% in
community-based facilities were enrolled. The two most common types of programs for both
Federal and State correctional facilities were education and counseling.
According to data from the 1991 Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities, 43%
of all inmates had participated in a drug treatment program; 36% received their most
recent treatment while incarcerated. Group counseling was the most frequent type of
In 1991, about 57% of Federal drug offenders and 52% of drug offenders in state prisons
were tested for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In Federal prisons, property
(1.4%) and violent (1.1%) offenders had higher positive HIV rates than drug (0.6%) and
public-order offenders (0.6%). In State prisons, drug (3.2%) and property (2.7%) offenders
had higher rates than public-order (1.9%) and violent (1.4%) offenders.
Drug using offenders have a higher risk for infection with AIDS--
* 3.2% of Federal inmates and 4.9% of State inmates who used a needle to inject drugs,
* 5.5% of Federal inmates and 7.1% of State inmates who shared needles to inject drugs,
tested positive. About 4% of drug offenders in Federal prisons and 15% of drug offenders
in State prisons who had shared needles, were HIV positive.
Sources: Survey of State prison inmates, 1991.
Profile of State prison inmates, 1986. Profile of jail inmates, 1989. Drugs and jail
inmates, 1989. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, as reported in the
BJS Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics, 1993. Drug enforcement and treatment in
prisons, 1990. Comparing Federal and State prison inmates, 1991.
DRUG ENFORCEMENT IN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
Data from the BJS 1990 Census of State and
Federal Correctional Facilities describe the various methods used to prevent illegal
entry of drugs into prisons and to stop the use of illegal drugs by those under
correctional supervision. These methods include drug testing, questioning, patdowns,
clothing exchanges, and body cavity searches.
Most prison facilities required new admissions and inmates returning from temporary
release to be patted down and required them to exchange their clothing for
Drug interdiction activities for prison inmates/residents, by type of facility, June
1990 Type of facility
Drug inter- ____________________________
diction Federal State
activity, by confine- Confine- Community
inmate group ment ment based
Verbal questioning 83.8% 74.9% 79.2%
Patdown 87.5 77.7 71.2
Clothing exchange 87.5 59.0 26.0
Body cavity search 61.3 45.1 14.4
from temporary release
Verbal questioning 72.5% 66.5% 68.0%
Patdown 81.3 79.7 81.6
Clothing exchange 72.5 54.5 29.2
Body cavity search 63.8 47.6 20.4
Source: Drug enforcement and treatment in prisons, 1990.
Interdiction efforts were more stringent in maximum security prisons than in medium or
minimum security facilities. All Federal maximum security prisons required clothing
exchanges, compared to 81% of Federal medium security prisons and 78% of Federal minimum
security facilities. Prison visitors are also subjected to interdiction activities. Most
visitors were questioned verbally and were subjected to searches of their belongings.
Patdowns and body cavity searches were usually conducted if visitors were suspected of
carrying drugs or paraphernalia.
Drug interdiction activities for prison visitors, by type of facility, June 1990
Type of facility
Interdiction confine- Confine- Community-
activity ment ment based
Verbal questioning 97.5% 78.7% 82.4%
Patdown 51.3 69.4 39.6
Belongings search 92.5 87.4 75.6
Body cavity search 27.5 22.4 5.2
Source: Drug enforcement and treatment in
To prevent drugs from being brought into facilities, prison staff are subjected to
interdiction activities, particularly when under suspicion of drug smuggling. Staff were
questioned in 45% of Federal facilities and 23% of State facilities upon suspicion of drug
involvement. Staff were patted down on suspicion in 19% of Federal facilities and 14% of
The 1990 Census revealed that 7 out of 8 institutions conduct urine tests on inmates to
detect drug use. Of the tests conducted between July 1, 1989, and June 30, 1990, evidence
of drug use among State prison inmates was detected in about--
* 1 in 16 tests for marijuana
* 1 in 28 tests for cocaine
* 1 in 50 tests for methamphetamines
* 1 in 75 tests for heroin.
Among tests conducted among Federal prison inmates, positive test results were found in
* 1 in 100 tests for marijuana
* 1 in 250 tests for cocaine
* 1 in 250 tests for heroin
* 1 in 1,000 tests for methamphetamines.
Most facilities conducted urine tests upon suspicion of drug use. One in five
facilities systematically conducted urine tests on all inmates at least once during their
Percent of inmates tested for drug use, by criteria for testing and type of facility,
Criteria for All Federal
inmate drug tests facilities confinement
Total 87% 100%
Systematically on everyone at least
once during stay 20 31
Randomly on samples 63 96
On indication of
possible drug use 76 94
Criteria for State State
inmate drug tests confinement community-based
Total 83% 98%
everyone at least
once during stay 12 46
Randomly on samples 57 76
On indication of
possible drug use 74 76
Source: Drug enforcement and treatment in
prisons, 1990. Jail inmates, 1992.
The 1992 Annual Survey of Jails revealed that 308 out of 503 large jail jurisdictions
conducted urinalysis on inmates. Of the 308 jurisdictions testing for drug use, 219
reported testing inmates upon suspicion of drug use, 159 conducted random tests, 153
tested inmates on return from the community, and 35 tested all inmates at least once.
Sources: Drug enforcement and treatment in prisons, 1990. Jail inmates, 1992.
RECIDIVISM OF DRUG LAW VIOLATORS
Of 27,000 drug offenders sentenced to probation in 32 counties across 17 States in
1986, 49% were rearrested for a felony offense within 3 years of sentencing.
Percent of drug
Rearrest offense probationers rearrested
Violent offenses 7.4
Property offenses 10.3
Drug offenses 26.7
Weapons offenses 1.0
Other offenses 3.5
Of all probationers rearrested within the 3-year period, 1 out of 3 were arrested for a
Drug abusers were more likely to be rearrested than non-abusers:
Percent of probationers
Drug abuse rearrested within 3 years
Occasional abuser 44
Frequent abuser 55
Compliance with drug testing or drug treatment while on probation indicates a lower
likelihood of rearrest:
Percent of probationers rearrested
Special Satisfied satisfy
conditions Total condition condition
treatment 51% 38% 66%
treatment 51 36 65
Testing only 53 34 67
Treatment only 47 42 67
No testing or
treatment 48 -- --
-- Not applicable.
In a separate study, BJS gathered 3 years of criminal history records for a sample of
persons released from prison in 1983 in 11 States. The percentage of offenders rearrested
within 3 years was:
* 50.4% of drug offenders
* 54.6% of public-order offenders
* 59.6% of violent offenders
* 68.1% of property offenders.
Drug offenses accounted for 14% of new charges against all those rearrested. Among drug
violators released from prison, 24.8% were rearrested for a drug offense.
Percent of drug law violators released from prison in 1983 who within 3 years were
Rear- Recon- Reincar-
Offense rested victed cerated
Drug offenses 50.4% 35.3% 30.3%
Possession 62.8 40.2 36.7
Trafficking 51.5 34.5 29.4
offenses 45.3 34.5 29.1
Sources: Recidivism of felons on probation,
1986-89. Recidivism of prisoners released in 1983.
DRUGS AND YOUTH
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has sponsored a survey of high school seniors each
year since 1975. As reported in the 1993 BJS Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics, of
1993 high school seniors--
* 35.3% reported having ever used marijuana/hashish
* 6.1% reported having ever used cocaine
* 1.1% reported having ever used heroin.
1993 High school seniors reporting they could obtain drugs fairly easily or very easily
Cocaine powder 45.4
phetamine (ice) 26.6
Amyl and butyl
In 1993, 26% of high school seniors reported use of marijuana within the previous 12
months, up from 21.9% in 1992. Marijuana use within the last 30 days increased from 11.9%
in 1992 to 15.5% in 1993.
Reported illegal drug use by high school seniors,
Used within the last
Drugs 12 months(a) 30 days
Marijuana 26.0% 15.5%
Cocaine (other than crack) 2.9 1.2
Crack 1.5 .7
Hallucinogens 7.4 2.7
Heroin .5 .2
Other opiates(b) 3.6 1.3
Inhalants 7.0 2.5
Stimulants(b) 8.4 3.7
Sedatives(b) 3.4 1.3
Tranquilizers(b) 3.5 1.2
Steroids 1.2 0.7
(a)Including the last 30 days.
(b)Includes only drug use which was not under a
Cocaine use among high school seniors peaked in 1985:
Used cocaine within the last:
Year 12 months* 30 days
1975 5.6% 1.9%
1976 6.0 2.0
1977 7.2 2.9
1978 9.0 3.9
1979 12.0 5.7
1980 12.3 5.2
1981 12.4 5.8
1982 11.5 5.0
1983 11.4 4.9
1984 11.6 5.8
1985 13.1 6.7
1986 12.7 6.2
1987 10.3 4.3
1988 7.9 3.4
1989 6.5 2.8
1990 5.3 1.9
1991 3.5 1.4
1992 3.1 1.3
1993 3.3 1.3
*Including the last 30 days.
Self-reports of drug use among high school seniors may underrepresent drug use among
youth of that age because high school dropouts and truants are not included, and these
groups may have more involvement with drugs than those who stay in school.
The 1993 high school seniors were asked, "How much do you think people risk
Those students answering "great risk" in regular use accounted for the
* marijuana, 72.5%, up from a low of 34.9% in 1978, but down from 76.5% in 1992
* cocaine, 90%, up from a low of 68.2% in 1977 and 1978
* heroin, 88.3%, virtually stable since 1975
* LSD, 79.4%, following a low of 79.1% in 1977 and a high of 84.5% in 1990.
Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey
School Crime Supplement show that in the first half of 1989, 2 out of 3 students ages
12 to 19 reported availability of drugs at their school.
Availability of drugs was reported more often by--
* public school students (70%) than by private school students (52%)
* students in grades 9 to 12, compared to students in grades 6 to 8.
Similar rates of drug availability were reported by--
* white students (69%) and black students (67%)
* students residing in cities (66%), suburban areas (67%), and nonmetropolitan areas
The survey also showed that most drugs, while available, were difficult to obtain.
As reported in the 1991 BJS Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics, a 1990 national
survey of fifth and sixth graders found that--
* 15% knew adults or older kids who tried or who use marijuana; 5% knew kids their own
age who tried or who use marijuana
* 10% knew adults or older kids who tried or who use cocaine; 2% knew kids their own
age who use cocaine or crack
* 90% agreed with the statement "drugs bought on the street are not safe to
* 7% said they will probably have tried drugs by the time they enter high school.
Sources: School crime. Lloyd D. Johnston,
Patrick M. O'Malley, and Jerald G. Bachman,
Smoking, drinking, and illicit drug use among American secondary school students,
college students, and young adults, 1975-1993 and NFO Research Inc., Final report, drug
awareness and attitude study as reported in BJS Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics,
About 6% of State prison inmates belonged to a gang prior to incarceration, according
to data from the 1991 Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities.
Among inmates who were gang members
. 81% reported past drug use
. 69% said they manufactured, imported, or sold drugs as a group
. 92% reported their gang fought other groups.
Of inmates who reported belonging to a gang before entering prison, 32% were still
members at the time of incarceration. On average, they had joined a gang at age 14. Half
reported that their gang had 60 or more members.
In 1991, among Federal offenders who had trafficked in, grown, or manufactured illegal
drugs or who had managed drug money, 25% said they were a member of a group or
organization that engaged in illegal drug activities. About 11% were leaders or middle men
in a drug organization. About 9% belonged to organizations with 11 or more members.
Fifteen percent of students ages 12 to 19 reported the presence of street gangs at
their school, according to 1989 data from the National Crime Victimization Survey School
Seventy-eight percent of students who reported gang presence at their school said drugs
were available compared to 66% of students who reported gangs were not present.
Students at schools with gangs were more likely to fear an attack both at school and on
the way to school and were more likely to avoid certain areas inside the school.
Sources: Survey of State prison inmates,
1991. Comparing Federal and State prison inmates, 1991. School crime.
DRUG USE IN THE GENERAL POPULATION
According to data from the 1993 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
(SAMHSA) National Household Survey on Drug Abuse--
* 77 million Americans age 12 or older (37% of the population) reported use of an
illicit drug at least once in their lifetime
* 12% reported use of a drug within the past year
* 6% reported use of a drug within the past month.
Preliminary data from the 1993 survey show that marijuana and cocaine use is most
prevalent among those ages 18 to 34.
Age of respondent
Drug use 12-17 18-25 26-34 35+
Last month 4.9% 1.1% 6.7% 1.9%
Last year 10.1 22.9 13.8 4.0
Lifetime 11.6 47.4 59.2 26.6
Last month .4% 1.5% 1.0% .4%
Last year 0.8 5.0 4.4 1.1
Lifetime 1.1 12.5 25.6 8.5
As reported in the 1993 BJS Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics, rates of drug
use by college students were among the lowest during the past 10 years.
Marijuana and cocaine use among college students,
Drug use 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988
last month 3.6% 3.1% 2.1% 2.3% 1.8%
Last month 23.0 23.6 22.3 20.3 16.8
Last year 40.7 41.7 40.9 37.0 34.6
last month .4% .1% .1% .1% .1%
Last month 7.6 6.9 7.0 4.6 4.2
Last year 16.3 17.3 17.1 13.7 10.0
Drug use 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993
last month 2.6% 1.7% 1.8% 1.6% 1.9%
Last month 16.3 14.0 14.1 14.6 14.2
Last year 33.6 29.4 26.5 27.7 27.9
last month 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Last month 2.8 1.2 1.0 1.0 0.7
Last year 8.2 5.6 3.6 3.0 2.7
Source: Drug use among American high school seniors, college students, and young adults
as reported in the BJS Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics, 1993.
Another measure of drug use in the general population is the number of drug-related
emergency room episodes and drug-related deaths.
The SAMHSA Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported an estimated 433,493 drug-related
episodes in hospital emergency rooms nationwide in 1992, an 10% increase from 393,968 in
1991. A total of 7,532 deaths related to drug abuse were reported in 1992 by medical
examiners in 38 metropolitan areas.
Sources: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Household
Survey on Drug Abuse, as reported in ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse, Fact Sheet:
Drug data summary. Lloyd D. Johnston, Patrick M. O'Malley, and Jerald G. Bachman, Smoking,
drinking, and illicit drug use among American secondary school students, college students,
and young adults, 1984-1993 as reported in the BJS Sourcebook of criminal
justicestatistics, 1993. Drug Abuse Warning Network, as reported in Fact sheet: Drug data
PUBLIC OPINION ABOUT DRUGS
As reported in the 1993 BJS Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics, the percentage
of Gallup Poll respondents describing drug abuse as the single most important problem
facing our country peaked in 1989:
Drug abuse most serious
Date of poll problem
January 1985 2%
July 1986 8
April 1987 11
September 1988 11
May 1989 27
November 1989 38
April 1990 30
July 1990 18
March 1991 11
March 1992 8
January 1993 6
January 1994 9
Among Gallup Poll respondents, the use of drugs was most often mentioned as one of the
biggest problems for schools in their communities. Giving that response in 1993 were--
* 14% of public school parents
* 9% of nonpublic school parents
* 17% of those with no children in school
* 16% of all surveyed.
When asked about spending for various social problems, 60% of the respondents to a 1993
National Opinion Research Center (NORC) Poll said this country is spending too little to
deal with drug addiction.
In 1990 Gallup Poll respondents were asked how best the government should allocate its
resources in its fight against drugs:
* 40% said "teaching young people about the dangers of drugs"
* 28% said "working with foreign governments to stop the export of drugs to this
* 19% said "arresting people in this country who sell drugs"
* 5% said "helping drug users to overcome their addiction to drugs"
* 4% said "arresting the people who use drugs."
Gallup Poll respondents were asked, "What is the most important thing that can be
done to help reduce crime?" In 1989, the most frequent response was to cut the drug
supply (25%), followed by harsher punishment (24%). In 1981, 3% of respondents mentioned
cutting the drug supply, while harsher punishment was mentioned by 38% of respondents.
NORC has asked adults (age 18 or older) about legalization of marijuana since 1973. In
1993, 22% believed that marijuana should be made legal, down from a peak of 30% in 1978.
College freshmen have been surveyed by NORC since 1968. In 1993, 28.2% of those
surveyed agreed strongly or somewhat that marijuana should be legalized, down from a high
of 52.9% in 1977 and up from a low of 16.7% in 1989. Of 1993 high school seniors--
* 22.8% felt using marijuana should be legal, down from 32.9% feeling that way in 1978
and up from a low of 14.9% in 1986
* 75.5% reported worrying often or sometimes about drug abuse, up from 65.5% in 1978
and down from 82.6% in 1990.
In 1990 a Gallup Poll asked what respondents felt would be the effect of legalizing
Effect of legalization would increase:
Drug use in public schools 65%
The number of addicts 67
The number of drug overdoses 63
Drug-related crime 52
Sources: The Gallup report; National Opinion Research Center data made available
through the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research; Alexander W. Astin, et al., The
American freshman: Twenty year trends;Lloyd D. Johnston, Jerald G. Bachman, and Patrick M.
O'Malley, Monitoring the future 1975-1992; Lloyd D. Johnston, Patrick M. O'Malley, and
Jerald G. Bachman, Drug use, drinking, and smoking: National survey results from high
school, college, and young adult populations, 1975-1988; all as reported in the BJS
Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics, 1993 and earlier editions.
ONDCP DRUGS & CRIME CLEARINGHOUSE
The ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse serves the drugs-and-crime information needs
- Federal, State, and local policy-makers
- * criminal justice and public health practitioners
* researchers and universities
* private corporations
* the media
* the public.
The Clearinghouse was established in 1987 to provide special attention to the needs of
State and local government agencies, especially those seeking data to meet the statistical
requirements of the Anti-Drug Abuse Grant Program of the Bureau of Justice Assistance
(BJA). In 1994, the Clearinghouse became a component of the National Criminal Justice
Reference Service, with funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The ONDCP Drugs & Crime Clearinghouse responds to requests for current data on--
* illegal drugs
* drug-related crime
* drug law violations
* drug-using offenders in the criminal justice system
* drug treatment for offenders
* the impact of drugs on criminal justice administration.
The clearinghouse component--
* disseminates ONDCP, BJS and other Department of Justice publications relating to
drugs and crime
* prepares and distributes fact sheets and selected bibliographies on specific
drugs-and- crime topics
* responds to information requests utilizing a bibliographic database of statistical
and research reports, books, and journal articles on drugs and crime
* searches the bibliographic database to fill requests for data on specific topics
* advises requesters on data availability and usefulness and on data sources that may
meet their needs
* provides statistics and bibliographic citations by mail or telephone
* maintains a reading room where visitors can use the clearinghouse collection of
library documents and vertical file items on drugs and crime
* coordinates with Federal, State, and local agencies in identifying other data
resources and makes referrals.
During 1994 the Clearinghouse--
* handled nearly 10,000 requests for information
* expanded the bibliographic database to about 4,500 documents and total library
holdings to about 13,000 items
* distributed about 75,000 drugs-and-crime documents, 33% of which were Clearinghouse
products, 12% were BJS publications, and 7% were other Office of Justice Programs
* attended seven conferences
* distributed nine publications of the Office of National Drug Control Policy including
the 1994 National Drug Control Strategy, Pulse Check, and Marijuana Situation Assessment
- prepared Drugs and crime facts, 1993 (August 1994), which presents existing BJS data on
the subject from diverse BJS reports
- * prepared State drug resources: 1994 National directory (September 1994), a guide to
State and Federal agencies that address drug abuse concerns.
* prepared the fact sheets Drug-Related Crime,
Drug Data Summary, and Drug Use Trends, summarizing up-to-date statistics on the
relationship between drugs and crime. The toll-free line for the ONDCP Drugs & Crime
Clearinghouse is 1-800-666-3332. The clearinghouse is located at Aspen Systems
Corporation, 1600 Research Boulevard, Rockville, MD, 20850.
Single copies of any report with an NCJ number can be obtained from the ONDCP Drugs
& Crime Clearinghouse, 1600 Research Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850; 800-666-3332. Most
titles are free of charge.
Sources with an ICPSR number have a data set available on data tape, CD-ROM, or
diskette. For more information, contact the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data at
the University of Michigan, P.O. Box 1248, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, 1-800-999-0960.
Comparing Federal and State prison inmates, 1991, September, 1994, NCJ-145864
Crime in the United States, 1993, Federal Bureau of Investigation, December 1994
Criminal victimization in the United States, 1992, April 1994, NCJ-145125, ICPSR 8864
Drug enforcement and treatment in prisons, 1990
(BJS Special Report), July 1992, NCJ-134724
Drug enforcement by police and sheriffs' departments, 1990 (BJS Special Report), May
1992, NCJ-134505, ICPSR 9749
Drug Use Forecasting 1993 annual report on adult arrestees, National Institute of
Justice, November, 1994, NCJ-147411
Drugs and jail inmates, 1989 (BJS Special Report), August 1991, NCJ-130836, ICPSR 9419
Fact sheet: Drug data summary, Drugs & Crime Data Center & Clearinghouse, July
Federal criminal case processing, 1982-1991: With preliminary data for 1992, November
1993, NCJ-144526, ICPSR 9296
Federal criminal case processing, 1980-1987, May 1990, NCJ-120069, ICPSR 9296
Federal drug case processing, 1985-91: With preliminary data for 1992, March 1994,
Federal law enforcement officers, 1993 (BJS Bulletin), December 1994, NCJ-151166
Federal sentencing in transition, 1986-90 (BJS Special Report), June 1992, NCJ-134727
Felony sentences in State courts, 1990 (BJS Bulletin), March 1993, ICPSR 6038
Jail inmates 1992 (BJS Bulletin), August 1993, NCJ-143284
Murder in large urban counties, 1988 (BJS Special Report), May 1993, NCJ-140614, ICPSR
National Corrections Reporting Program, 1989, November 1992, NCJ-138222, ICPSR 9849
National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Population estimates 1992, U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,
Pretrial release of Federal felony defendants (BJS Special Report), February 1994,
Pretrial release of felony defendants, 1988 (BJS Bulletin), February 1991, NCJ-127202,
Pretrial release of felony defendants, 1992 (BJS Bulletin), November 1994, NCJ-148818,
Profile of jail inmates, 1989 (BJS Special Report), April 1991, NCJ-129097, ICPSR 9419
Profile of State prison inmates, 1986 (BJS Special Report), January 1988, NCJ-109926,
Prosecutors in State courts, 1992 (BJS Bulletin), December 1993,NCJ-145319, ICPSR 6273
Recidivism of felons on probation, 1986-89 (BJS Special Report), February 1992,
NCJ-134177, ICPSR 9574.
Recidivism of prisoners released in 1983 (BJS Special Report), April 1989, NCJ-116261,
School crime, September 1991, NCJ-131645, ICPSR 9394
Sheriffs' departments 1990 (BJS Bulletin), February 1992, NCJ-133283, ICPSR 9749
Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics, 1993, September 1994,NCJ-148211
Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics, 1991, September 1992, NCJ-137369
State and local police departments, 1990 (BJS Bulletin), February 1992, NCJ-133284,
Survey of State prison inmates, 1991, March 1993, NCJ-136949, ICPSR 6068
Survey of youth in custody, 1987 (BJS Special Report), September 1988, NCJ-113365,
Women in jail 1989 (BJS Special Report), March 1992, NCJ-134732, ICPSR 9419