More than 68,000 drug arrests occurred in Florida in 2020. This was the first time in over five years that less than 110,000 people were arrested for drug-related offenses in Florida. The drug arrest rate per 100,000 people was 316.8 in 2020, the first time below 517 in over five years. The national drug arrest rate from 2014 through 2019 averaged around 450 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Drug crimes in Florida
Some of the larger counties in Florida with the highest rates of drug arrests include Duval, Marion, Brevard, Polk, Okaloosa and Volusia. Nearly a dozen Florida counties have a drug arrest rate twice as high as the national average. Florida also has the third-highest number of DUI arrests in the U.S., behind California and Texas. In the U.S., most drug arrests disproportionately occur in the southern states.
Drug crimes in the U.S.
The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics states that over 1.15 million Americans were arrested for drug-related offenses in 2020. More than 240,000 of these people were sent to prison for drug crimes. Over 25 percent of all arrests in the U.S. are associated with drug-related offenses. Approximately 80 percent of the inmates in U.S. prisons abuse alcohol or drugs. Close to 50 percent of all convicted murderers drank alcohol before committing homicide.
Compared to the ‘80s and ‘90s, the drug arrest rates for the 2020s have declined substantially. In ‘82 there were less than 600,000 drug arrests per year in the U.S. By 2007, the U.S. had exceeded 1.8 million arrests for drug offenses. Possession offenses primarily drive the increase, as sales and manufacturing arrests have never eclipsed 450,000 in a single year.