Women & The Drug War

Statistics and other data regarding drug use by women, and drug policies targeting women.

Substance Use, Social Support, and Child Protection Services

Substance Use, Social Support, and Child Protection Services: "The results of this study are important for the child protection field. They show that, rather than severity of substance use being associated with mothers’ involvement with the child protection system, other factors are of greater importance. Of particular interest was the finding that having greater social support, particularly from parents, significantly reduced the likelihood of being involved with the child protection system."

Current Drug Use in the US by People Aged 12 and Older, by Gender

Current Drug Use in the US by People Aged 12 and Older, by Gender: "• In 2013, as in prior years, the rate of current illicit drug use among persons aged 12 or older was higher for males (11.5 percent) than for females (7.3 percent). Males were more likely than females to be current users of several different illicit drugs, including marijuana (9.7 vs. 5.6 percent), cocaine (0.8 vs. 0.4 percent), and hallucinogens (0.7 vs. 0.3 percent).

Women in the US Sentenced and Serving Time in Either State or Federal Prisons, 2000 and 2010-2015

Women in the US Sentenced and Serving Time in Either State or Federal Prisons: 2000 and 2010-2015: "A smaller percentage of female prisoners in 2015 were age 55 or older (7%) compared to males (almost 11%). The percentage of white female prisoners age 55 or older was higher for the other race groups of female prisoners. Twice as many white females (52,700 prisoners) than black females (21,700) were in state and federal prison at yearend 2015. However, the imprisonment rate for black females (103 per 100,000 black female residents) was almost double that for white females (52 per 100,000) (appendix table 4). Among any age group, black females were between 1.5 and 4.0 times more likely to be imprisoned than white females and between 1.1 and 2.0 times more likely than Hispanic females. As with males, females ages 30 to 34 had the highest rates of imprisonment of any age group (184 per 100,000 female residents)."

Total Arrests in the US by Gender

"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.

Many Women Under Correctional Authority Are Survivors of Sexual Assault

Many Women Under Correctional Authority Are Survivors of Sexual Assault: "Forty-four percent of women under correctional authority [including 57% of the women in State prisons], reported that they were physically or sexually assaulted at some time during their lives. Sixty-nine percent of women reporting an assault said that it had occurred before age 18."

Imprisonment Rates In The US By Age And Gender

"There were 440 prisoners sentenced to more than one year in state or federal prison per 100,000 U.S. residents on December 31, 2017, the lowest rate since 1997 (444 per 100,000) (table 5; see figure 1). Among U.S. residents age 18 or older, 568 in 100,000 were imprisoned on a sentence of more than one year at year-end 2017. At that time, 1.1% of adult males living in the United States (1,082 in 100,000) were serving a sentence of more than one year, representing a 2% decrease from year-end 2016 (1,108 in 100,000).

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