Drug Policy

In 2010, One Person Was Arrested for Manufacturing or Possessing Drugs Every 19 Seconds

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Law enforcement agents in the U.S. arrested 1,638,846 people last year for drug abuse violations, according to an FBI report released today, surpassing arrests for all other crimes. In a press release, the drug reform group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition says that comes out to roughly one arrest every 19 seconds. 

The other revelation contained in the FBI's report is that 81.9 percent of those arrests, or roughly 1,327,00, were for possession. Of that statistic, marijuana possession made up nearly half the arrests at 45.8 percent. Possession of heroine, cocaine, or a derivative made up 16.4 percent of arrests, possession of synthetic drugs made up 4.1 percent, and possession of "other dangerous non-narcotic drugs" made up 15.7 percent of arrests. 

On the supply side, 6.3 percent of arrests were for manufacturing marijuana, 6.2 percent of arrests were for manufacturing heroine, cocaine, and their derivatives, 1.8 percent of arrests were for manufacturing synthetic drugs, and 3.7 percent of arrests were for manufacturing "other dangerous non-narcotic drugs." 

Retired Baltimore police officer Neill Franklin, who heads up LEAP, had this to say about the FBI's numbers: "Since the declaration of the 'war on drugs' 40 years ago we've arrested tens of millions of people in an effort to reduce drug use. The fact that cops had to spend time arresting another 1.6 million of our fellow citizens last year shows that it simply hasn't worked. In the current economy we simply cannot afford to keep arresting three people every minute in the failed 'war on drugs.'"

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  1. At what point do these people realize that drugs are a fact of life and they better figure out a way to deal with it. No amount of law enforcement is ever going to stop people from using drugs. Yeah, that sucks. But so do a lot of other things. We are not well served by living in a fantasy world and ignoring reality when we don’t like it.

    1. Drugs have been a fact of life in every society since the dawn of time. Something to chew, smoke, snort or drink to pep you up or relax at the end of the day. That’s the norm. Teetotallin is abnormal.

    2. Why does that suck? 99% of the people who use drugs cause no harm to anyone else, whereas 100% of people who enforce these anti-human laws ruin lives for no good reason.

      1. I mean from their perspective it sucks. I frankly could not care less. But they have convinced themselves that drugs are this horrible evil. And there is no talking them out of it. But even if you believe that, the WOD is still by any measure a mammoth waste of time and an exercise in denying reality.

  2. While on the other hand, we get billions in subsidies and get our competitors thrown in jail.

  3. Wow! Arrested every 19 seconds? I would hate to be that person!

    1. Not only that, but how busy would you have to be to mfr. & possess drugs every 19 secs.? If you’re asleep a third of the day, then really s/he must be doing it about every 10 secs. during waking hours! Must be an assembly line.

      1. Obviously it’s a meth lab and they’re using their own product.

    2. Why didn’t they just keep him in custody?

  4. On the positive side, the WOD is an excellent jobs program.

    1. Precisely.

      “[W]e simply cannot afford NOT to keep arresting three people every minute in the failed ‘war on drugs.”

  5. Another good question for the repub debates, “Mr Santorum, Romney, Perry, Gingrich and Ms Bachmann, do you think law enforcement in the U.S. should continue every year to arrest someone every 19 seconds on a drug charge, and oh by the way, which part of the constitution allows the federal government to prohibit drug use?” Now that would be a home run question for Ron Paul.

    Santorum: Yes
    Romney: Yes
    Perry: Yes
    Gingrich: Yes
    Bachmann: Gardasil bad.

    Paul: Fuck no, the constitution does not allow the feds to prohibit, otherwise the founders wouldn’t have been able to grow hemp, you dicks.

  6. This is the price we pay so concerned soccer moms can sleep soundly at night.

    What a bargain.

    1. I thought they were sleeping soundly after sucking DSK’s cock??

      I confuse…

  7. Heroine is a female hero.
    Heroin is the drug.
    *shakes head*

    1. Heroin got its name from Heroine, no?

      1. Not exactly. It was named by a German guy who described the drug as making one feel heroic. So it really has nothing to do with the feminine form.

    2. Beatrice, from Kill Bill, is both, to me.

  8. “Law enforcement agents in the U.S. arrested 1,638,846 people last year for drug abuse violations”

    “Use” has nothing to do with it, let alone “abuse”.

  9. One Person Was Arrested for Manufacturing or Possessing Drugs Every 19 Seconds

    That stoner is one un-lucky son of a bitch.

    1. As is pointed out above, it must have been a tweaker to maintain that level of activity.

    2. STOP HASSLIN’ ME, MAN! I AIN’T HURTIN’ NOBODY! YOU GUYS ARE A BUMMER, MAN!

  10. Possession alone is 24 seconds. You have a harder sell to people with manufacture, but possession is usually easy. Most people don’t think arresting people for simple possession is worthwhile.

    1. Most people don’t think arresting people for simple possession is worthwhile

      Ha ha ha ha! Guess we’re not “most poeple”. Nice dog ya got there…

  11. it annoys me when people on my side (iow against the drug war) can’t even get basic facts right, facts that are right there in front of them.

    do they teach statistics in journalism school?

    “Law enforcement agents in the U.S. arrested 1,638,846 people last year for drug abuse violations,”

    That’s false.

    Go to the FBI report referenced. What it says is that 1,638,846 ARRESTS were made for those offenses.

    here’s a hint. this may shock you. not every arrest was of a unique person. iow, it is common for some people to be arrested, 2, 3, 4 or more times in a year.

    thus, it’s clear that that many people were NOT arrested for drug offenses. it’s clear that that many ARRESTS were made.

    this is BASIC reading comprehension. i would be curious to see if mr. riggs makes a correction or not.

    regardless, it’s still an abominable stat, but the stat mr. riggs provides is false.

  12. mr. riggs is wrong. i’ll see if he makes the correction.

    it annoys me to no end when people on my side (iow against arresting people for drug possession) can’t get BASIC facts and reading comprehension correctly.

    “Law enforcement agents in the U.S. arrested 1,638,846 people last year for drug abuse violations, according to an FBI report released today,”

    false. unless nobody was arrested more than once in that year for drug offenses (many people are arrested 2,3 or 4 or more times in a year for drug offenses. ) , then what riggs claims is NOT true, nor is it what the FBI reported, as he claimed, in the article.

    here’s what the report says: The highest number of arrests were for drug abuse violations (estimated at 1,638,846 arrests)

    ARRESTs! that many arrests were made. given that some people (many people) are arrested more than once in a year for drugs, it is necessarily false that that many PEOPLE were arrested for drug offenses.

    i will be interested to see if mr. riggs makes a correction

    this is the kind of crap i would expect from gun grabbers, not a responsible reporter.

    correction?

    1. some people (many people) are arrested more than once in a year for drugs

      Correct.

      From the FBI –

      Because a person may be arrested multiple times during a year, the UCR arrest figures do not reflect the number of individuals who have been arrested; rather, the arrest data show the number of times that persons are arrested, as reported by law enforcement agencies to the UCR Program.

      Now, from what I could find from a quick Google search (at least from 2004), felony convictions were at about 71% of arrests for drug trafficking nationwide.

      Given that statistic accounts for trafficking, and is from 2004, it’s hard to extrapolate the 71% figure over possession and among the various drugs as even successful convictions account for quite divergent sentencing depending on the amount and previous records.

      But it’s safe to say that, once arrested, it’s unlikely that an overwhelming percentage of those arrests are of the same people, given that simply processing the arrested through the system takes a bit of time.

      What if it was only 1.4M individuals? The objectionable part of the story isn’t the 19second mark of the drug arrests, it’s the overwhelming percentage of arrests that occur due to possession – something that is exactly counter to the LE assurances that the ‘war’ is on the dealers and not the users.

    2. What a nonpoint. Where are you reading the implication that that x-number of different people were arrested? You created that part, and then took offense to it.

      It says something, though I don’t know what, that you did.

  13. What should we expect? Prohibitionists need to get their fix too.

    They will do and say anything to get their fix.

    They irrationally apply the Commerce Clause (i.e. “to regulate commerce, with foreign nations, and among the several, and with the Indian tribes”) to ban the non-economic possession of certain things within a single state.

    They lie to the public by saying things like, ‘While we know marijuana is harmful…’ even though there is no experimental science proving any harm in moderate marijuana use.

    They lie to the public by saying things like, ‘There will be disaster, if we weaken drug laws.’, knowing that such laws have been weakened many times over the past few decades (e.g. Portugal decriminalizing all drugs a decade ago, many states legalizing medicinal marijuana, and/or decriminalizing it) without any solid evidence of such consequent disaster.

    They fight for their fix, even though prohibition failed at least with alcohol, and repealing such prohibition ended the black market for alcohol distribution, and all of the violence therein.

    They steal billions of taxpayer dollars annually to get their fix.

    They must be stopped.

    1. Speaking of fixes, let me fix the Commerce Clause in my comment:

      “To regulate commerce, with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;”

  14. I’m with dunphy on this one as well. I am against arresting for possession. I also believe marijuana should be legal. Manufacturing and dealing usually involve other crimes, sometimes violent ones, but the argument can easily be made that this is a result of the original activity being made criminal. We are wasting time and money on all of this.

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