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Drug Possession Statistics (INFOGRAPHIC)

Drug Possession Statistics Infographic


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Drug possession has become one of the largest crimes in the United States and is a small portion of the parent category: drug offenses. We’ve compiled and organized statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI for your convenience in relation to drug possession charges.

Note: All of these statistics do not include those arrested during a traffic violation.


  • 46% increase of drug possession or use arrests between 1990 and 2010.
  • 1,276,099 arrests for drug possession from a total of 1,552,432 arrests made relating to drugs (2012)
  • 42.4% of possession arrests were for marijuana (2012)
  • 16.5% of possession arrests were for heroin, cocaine, and their derivatives (2012)
  • 4.5% of possession arrests were for synthetic of manufactured drugs (2012)

Time Served:

  • The average time served was 16 months or 1.3 years (2004)
  • The average time served is 20 months or 1.7 years (2012) if tried by the State government
  • The average time served is 81 months or 6.75 years (2012) if tried by the Federal government

Juveniles (under the age of 18):

  • There were 148,700 arrests on drug abuse violations (2011)
  • Of these arrests, 123,421 arrests (83%) were male
  • 11% of drug possession arrests involved a juvenile (2010)
  • 855 juveniles were arrested on drug abuse charges in Maryland (2011)

The following is a table summarizing drug possession and abuse arrests for adults and juveniles in the United States:

Adult/Juvenile Total Arrests w/ Year Time Served % Male % Female
Adult 1,276,099 arrests in 2012 1.7 years in 2012 (State)

6.75 years in 2012 (Federal)
79.7% 20.3%
Juvenile 148,700 103 days in a juvenile residential placement facility 83% 17%


For more information and statistics, visit these government resources: