The 2011 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Annual Report found more than half of adult males arrested in the 10 cities that participated in the study were found positive for drugs at the time of their arrest. The charges ranged from misdemeanors to felonies, showing there to be a significant link between drug use and crime, The White House said.
In Atlanta, 64 percent tested positive for drug use at the time of arrest, while in Sacramento, Calif., the number topped out at 81 percent.
Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy, used the survey as evidence of the need for government to address drug control as a public health issue rather than just a criminal justice issue.
"Decades of research and experience show us crime and drug use are linked, and too often underlying substance use disorders are the driving force of criminal activity taking place in our communities," he said in a White House report. "While the criminal justice system will always serve a vital role in protecting public safety, we simply cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem."
The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Annual Report, or ADAM II, surveys drug use patterns in arrestees through voluntary interviews within 48 hours of arrest. Arrestees are tested for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines or methamphetamines, Darvon, PCP, benzodiazepines, methadone and barbiturates. They are not tested for alcohol.
The 10 cities cited in the report are: Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, Ore., Sacramento, Calif., and Washington.