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Federal Study Shows That More Than Half of Arrested Men Test Positive for Drugs - In Chicago, 87% Do!

posted 12:44 AM EST, Mon June 01, 2009
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Federal Study Shows That More Than Half of Arrested Men Test Positive for Drugs - In Chicago, 87% Do! © Photo Credit: Lorri37

A federally funded research project shows that drug use rates by those arrested in 10 major American cities far exceed drug use rates in the general population.

In 2008, more than half of all men arrested across 10 major American cities tested positive for drug use.

Researchers at The National Office of Drug Control have released the data from the 2008 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM II), a federally sponsored information gathering program that tests arrested men for drug use in 10 major US centers.

ADAM II researchers conducted a brief interview and collected urine samples from arrested men in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Portland, Sacramento and Washington DC. In total, 3924 study subjects provided urine samples, on a voluntary and confidential basis.

Urine samples were tested for 10 commonly used drugs. The researchers found that drug use rates amongst those arrested far exceeds general population drug usage rates, with a high end of 87% of those in Chicago testing positive for at least one substance and at the low end in Washington DC, 49% testing positive. Marijuana is the most commonly used substance, followed by cocaine, opiates and methamphetamine.

Gil Kerlikowske, director of The Office of National Drug Control Policy, said that the study results once again demonstrate the connection between drug use and criminal activities, and suggested that, "we must concentrate our resources on programs that have been proven to break the cycle of drugs and crime," saying that jailing these offenders without offering treatment, "simply defers the time when they are released back into our communities to start harming themselves and our communities again."

Kerlikowske, Obama's recently appointed Drug Czar, is a strong supporter of drug courts that offer substance abuse treatment to non violent offenders as an alternative to incarceration.

In Atlanta, arrested men were more likely to test positive for cocaine than marijuana.

In Chicago, the heaviest drug using city, 29% tested positive for heroin and 40% tested positive for cocaine.

Methamphetamine use varies greatly by region. In eastern centers, only 1% of those arrested tested positive for the stimulant, but in Sacramento 35% and in Portland 15% test positive for meth use.

In 8 of the 10 cities, more than 80% of the arrested men were repeat offenders.

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