2016: The FBI estimated that there were a total of 1,572,579 arrests for drug law violations in the US in 2016. The FBI, for the first time in many years, did not provide a breakdown of that figure by offense type or substance. In an analysis of a subset of the UCR's arrest data, police agencies in the US covering an estimated 2016 population of 250,017,636 people reported a total of 1,186,810 arrests for drug law violations in 2016, of which 1,004,762 (84.7%) were for possession of a controlled substance.
Drug Arrests in the US, 2010, by Age and Gender: "State and local law enforcement agencies made an estimated 1,336,500 arrests for drug possession or use in 2010. Females were 20% of these arrests. The median age in drug possession or use arrests was 26. Eleven percent of drug possession or use arrests in 2010 involved a juvenile, 18% involved persons age 40 or older, and 6% involved persons age 50 or older."
Drug Arrest Trends in the US 1990-2010: "There were 80% more arrests for drug possession or use in 2010 (1,336,530) than in 1990 (741,600). Between 1990 and its peak in 2006, the arrest rate for drug possession or use increased 75% (figure 37). The arrest rate declined between 2006 and 2010, ending in 2010 at 46% above its 1990 level and at a level similar to those seen between 1997 and 2002."
"In the UCR Program, a law enforcement agency reports that an offense is cleared by arrest, or solved for crime reporting purposes, when three specific conditions have been met. The three conditions are that at least one person has been:
" Charged with the commission of the offense.
" Turned over to the court for prosecution (whether following arrest, courtsummons, or police notice).
" In the nation in 2016, 45.6 percent of violent crimes and 18.3 percent of property crimes were cleared by arrest or exceptional means.
" When considering clearances of violent crimes, 59.4 percent of murder offenses, 53.3 percent of aggravated assault offenses, 40.9 percent of rape offenses (legacy definition), 36.5 percent of rape offenses (revised definition), and 29.6 percent of robbery offenses were cleared. (Please note, the legacy and revised UCR definitions for rape can be accessed in Offense Definitions.)
"In 2015, 73.1 percent of all arrestees were males. Males accounted for 79.7 percent of persons arrested for violent crimes and for 61.7 percent of persons arrested for property crimes.
• Males comprised 88.5 percent of persons arrested for murder and nonnegligent manslaughter in 2015.
• Of the total number of persons arrested for drug abuse violations, 77.4 percent were males.
• Females accounted for 43.2 percent of all persons arrested for larceny-theft offenses in 2015.
• Of persons arrested for aggravated assault in 2015, 23.1 percent were females.
In 2016, the FBI estimated that there were 1,572,579 arrests for drug law violations in the US. The FBI's Uniform Crime Report for 2016, for the first time in many years, did not provide a breakdown of that figure by offense type. The FBI did perform an analysis of a subset of its arrest data for its 2016 Uniform Crime Report.
Total Annual Arrests in the US by Year and Type of Offense
In 2015, law enforcement agencies in the US made 10,797,088 arrests for all offenses, of which 1,488,707 were drug arrests, 505,681 were for violent offenses, and 1,463,213 were for property offenses. A total of 643,121 marijuana arrests were made that year, of which 64,480 were for trafficking or sales, and 574,641 were for simple possession of marijuana.
In 1973, there were 328,670 arrests reported by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for drug law violations, out of a total 9,027,700 arrests nationwide for all offenses. Also that year, authorities reported 380,560 arrests for all violent crimes and 1,448,700 arrests for all property offenses.
In 2016, there were 1,572,579 arrests for drug law violations out of a total 10,662,252 arrests nationwide for all offenses. Also in 2016, authorities reported 515,151 arrests for all violent crimes and 1,353,283 arrests for all property offenses.