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Drugs and Crime Facts, 1993

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 1994
This comprehensive overview of the drug problem in the United States contains information on drug-crime relationships, drug use prevalence, drug manufacturing and trafficking, drug control, drug testing, drug use costs, drug law enforcement, and drug offender prosecution and sentencing.

In 33 percent of violent crime victimizations in 1991, victims believed their assailants were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Among jail inmates in 1989, 44 percent used drugs in the month before the offense, 30 percent used drugs daily in the month before the offense, and 27 percent used drugs at the time of the offense. In 1991, 49 percent of State prison inmates reported that they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time they committed the offense for which they were currently sentenced. Among violent offenders, 61 percent said that they or their victims were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the offense. About 78 percent of jail inmates in 1989, 79 percent of State prisoners in 1991, and 83 percent of youth in long-term public juvenile facilities in 1987 had used drugs at some point in their lives. Overall, 17 percent of State prison inmates in 1991 and 13 percent of convicted jail inmates in 1989 said they committed crimes to obtain money for drugs. State and local police officials made an estimated 1 million arrests for drug law violations in 1992. Federal authorities seized 5,963 clandestine drug laboratories between 1975 and 1991; destroyed 272 million marijuana plants in 1992; and confiscated significant amounts of cocaine, heroin, opium, marijuana, hallucinogens, and stimulants. Drug-related law enforcement activities included making arrests, seizing drugs, drug testing, and drug education. With respect to pretrial release of drug defendants, the National Pretrial Reporting Program revealed that of persons charged with a felony drug offense in 1990 in the 75 most populous U.S. counties, 65 percent were released prior to case disposition, 30 percent were held with bail, and 5 percent were held without bail. The number of suspects prosecuted for Federal drug offenses increased from 7,697 in 1981 to 25,663 in 1991. In State courts, an estimated 324,235 adults were arrested for drug trafficking, of whom 129,637 were imprisoned. The number of drug trafficking convictions in State courts more than doubled between 1986 and 1990. Drug offenders accounted for 61 percent of sentenced inmates in Federal prisons in 1993, while the proportion of drug offenders in State prisons increased from 9 percent in 1986 to 21 percent in 1991. Drug law enforcement methods in correctional facilities are discussed, as well as recidivism rates of drug law violators, juvenile drug use, drug-related gang activities, and public attitudes toward drugs. 31 notes and 11 tables

Date Published: August 1, 1994