A new federal drug monitoring program’s annual report finds that cocaine use is down but marijuana use continues to grow among men arrested in 10 cities across the United States. The 2011 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Report learned that marijuana is the most commonly used illegal substance. In Sacramento, Minneapolis, Chicago and Charlotte, N.C., 50 percent or more of arrestees tested positive for marijuana, continuing an upward trend from 2000. The other cities in the report are Atlanta, Denver, Indianapolis, Portland, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Cocaine use is generally down in all 10 cities. The largest drops in cocaine use were in New York and Chicago, from more than 50 percent of arrested men in 2000 to less than 30 percent of arrested men in 2011.
“This data confirm that we must address our drug problem as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue. We cannot simply arrest our way out of the drug problem,” said Gil Kerlikowske, the director of national drug control policy.