Report: More Than 60% of Arrestees Tested Positive for Recent Drug Use

KTSP in Illinois reports that most arrestees booked into the Hennepin County jail tested positive for drug use:

More than 60 percent of all arrestees booked into the Hennepin County jail tested positive for drug use, according to a federal study conducted over a four-month period last year.

The Hennepin County jail is one of ten sites nationwide where an annual federal study measures drug use among arrestees within 48 hours of arrest.

According to the data compiled, the most commonly detected drug at the time of arrest is marijuana, followed by cocaine, opiates, oxycodone, and methamphetamine.

Determining exactly what role an intoxicant played in the commission of a crime can be difficult.  Many people commit a variety of crimes (murder, theft, vandalism, assault, rape, domestic violence, etc.) without the involvement of intoxicants, so obviously not all crime can be blamed on intoxication.

Yet there is a disturbing statistical trend which reveals a high incidence of intoxication (from drugs and alcohol) among all arrests, not just those that are directly drug-related. As a former law enforcement official, I saw that a disproportionate number of cases involving assault, domestic disturbances, property damage and so forth involved people intoxicated on some substance or another.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program reported in 1997 that 22.4% of all inmates in federal prison reported being intoxicated at the time of their crime, and 32.6% of those in state prisons reported being intoxicated.

Obviously, not all crime can be attributed to the use of intoxicants, and criminals certainly should not be allowed to avoid responsibility for their actions while intoxicated. Yet it is impossible to deny that when people are intoxicated, their judgment is impaired and emotional reactions are often amplified by the loss of control brought on by intoxication.   How much crime could be reduced, how many domestic assaults could be avoided, if fewer people in our society were intoxicated on one substance or another?

For that reason among many others, I hope South Dakota will once again take a pass on the opportunity to legalize marijuana for “medicinal” use this year.

HT: Free Republic.

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