Far more drug arrests are for possession than manufacturing

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Many people would likely say that the "War on Drugs" is aimed at stopping those who manufacture and distribute controlled substances. However, the stats show that the vast majority of arrests are actually made for possession of drugs. For example, take a look at the numbers for the past few years:

  • In 2014, there were 1,561,231 total drug arrests. A full 83.1 percent of them were made for possession, while just 16.9 percent were for manufacturing and selling drugs.
  • In 2013, there were 1,501,043 total drug arrests. A total of 82.3 percent of them were made for possession, while just 17.7 percent were for selling or manufacturing.
  • In 2012, there were 1,552,432 total drug arrests. A full 82.2 percent of them were made for possession, while just 17.8 percent were for manufacturing and selling drugs.
  • In 2011, there were 1,531,251 total drug arrests. A total of 81.8 percent of them were made for possession, while just 18.2 percent were for selling or manufacturing.

As you can see, the numbers are startlingly similar from one year to the next. Not only do the total amount of arrests look similar, but the breakdown between possession charges and more serious charges also stays the same.

If you want to see a really stark difference, though, just look at the states from 1973. Back then, there were a mere 328,670 drug-related arrests, when looking at both possession and manufacturing charges combined. That stat comes from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports.

The focus that law enforcement has on drug possession charges is clear, so it’s important for those who are arrested in Florida to know all of their legal defense options.

Source: Drug War Facts, "Crime, Arrests, and US Law Enforcement," accessed March 10, 2016

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