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Article Summary

Arrests and Minority Drug Use

There were a total of 1,330,802 state and local arrests for drug abuse violations in the United States during 2005. Of the 1,330,802 drug abuse violations with race information available, 64.7% of those arrested were white, 33.9% were black, 0.7% were Asian or Pacific Islander, and 0.6% were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

In FY 2004, the U.S. Marshals Service arrested and booked 140,755 total suspects for Federal offenses, 23.6% of which were for drug offenses. Of these arrestees booked by the U.S. Marshals Service for drug offenses, 66.1% were white, 31.0% were black/African American, 0.1% were Indian/Alaska Natives and 1.9% were Asian/Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Also in FY 2004, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested 27,454 individuals. Of those arrested by the DEA, 67.7% were white, 29.2% were black/African American, 0.6% were Indian/Alaska Natives and 2.5% were Asian/Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Additionally, 42.4% of those arrested by the DEA in FY 2004 were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

DEA Arrests, by Race/Ethnicity and Type of Drug

Drug Category

White

Black

Indian

Asian

Hispanic

Powered cocaine

4,648

2,273

26

49

3,943

Crack cocaine

695

3,161

22

25

300

Marijuana

4,573

1,017

56

122

2,882

Methamphetamine

5,367

141

60

191

2,197

Opiates

1,398

833

5

18

1,311

Other or non-drug

1,726

500

5

272

497

DEA Arrest Statistics

During FY 2006, there were 25,763 Federal defendants charged with a drug offense whose race was reported to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Approximately one quarter (25.8%) of these defendants were white, 29.2% were black, and 41.7% were Hispanic. Individuals of another race made up 3.2% of these drug cases. The drug most often involved in Hispanic cases was Heroin. Methamphetamine was the most common drug type for whites and crack cocaine was the most common drug type for blacks.

At yearend 2003, there were an approximate total of 1,256,400 sentenced State prison inmates, 250,900 of whom were incarcerated for drug offenses. The majority of drug offenders held in State prisons were black (133,100), followed by whites (64,800), and Hispanics (50,100).

During 1995 there were a total of 2,065,896 State and local probationers; of that total, 20% (414,832) were on probation for a drug offense. White probationers (73%) had the highest rate of prior drug use, followed by black probationers (68%) and Hispanics (56%). Drug use at the time of the offense was similar for white (14%) and black (15%) probationers, and lowest for Hispanics (11%).

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