possession

People Serving Time in Federal Prisons in the US For Whom Drug Possession is the Most Serious Offense

The US Dept. of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that on Sept. 30, 2012, there were a total of 187,773 people sentenced and serving time in US federal prison for any offense. Of those, 97,214 people (51.8% of the total) had as their most serious charge a drug offense: 96,907 of them for drug trafficking or manufacture (51.6% of the total), 296 for drug possession (0.16% of the total), and 11 for "other"* drug offenses.

45,300 People At Year-End 2016 Serving Sentences in State Prisons in the US Whose Most Serious Offense Was Possession

The US Dept. of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that at yearend 2016, 1,288,466 people were serving sentences in state prisons in the US, of whom 190,100 (14.75% of the total) had as their most serious offence a drug charge: 45,300 for drug possession (3.51% of the total), and 144,800 for "other" drug offenses, including manufacturing and sale (11.24% of the total).

Arrests for Drug Offenses in the US in 2018, By Type of Offense and Substance Type

In 2018, the FBI reports there were a total of 1,654,282 arrests for all drug offenses, of which 224,982 were for sale or manufacture of any drug, and 1,429,300 were for possession of any drug.

• Of the 224,982 sale/manufacture arrests in 2018, 72,788 were for heroin, cocaine, and derivatives; 54,591 were for marijuana; 29,777 were for synthetic or manufactured drugs; and 66,171 were for other dangerous nonnarcotic drugs.

Total Annual Drug Arrests In The United States By Offense Type

2018: Of the estimated 1,654,282 drug law violations in the US in 2018, 86.4% (1,429,300) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 13.6% (224,982) were for sale or manufacture of a drug.

2017: Of the estimated 1,632,921 drug law violations in the US in 2017, 85.4% (1,394,515) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 14.6% (238,404) were for sale or manufacture of a drug.