Drug War Statistics

Did you know....

Amount spent annually in the U.S. on the war on drugs: $58+ billion
Number of arrests in 2017 in the U.S. for drug law violations: 1,632,921

Number of drug arrests that were for possession only: 1,394,514 (85.4 percent)

Number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2017: 659,700

Number of those charged with marijuana law violations who were arrested for possession only: 599,282 (90.8 percent)

Percentage of people arrested for drug law violations who are Black or Latino: 46.9% (despite making up just 31.5% of the U.S. population)

Number of people in the U.S. incarcerated in 2016: 2,205,300 – the highest incarceration rate in the world

Number of people in the U.S. incarcerated for a drug law violation in 2016: 456,000

Number of people in the U.S. who died from an accidental drug overdose in 2017: 72,000
Number of states that allow the medical use of marijuana: 33+ District of Columbia
Number of states that have legalized marijuana: 10 (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington State) + District of Columbia
Number of states that have decriminalized or removed the threat of jail time for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana: 22
Number of people killed in Mexico's drug war since 2006: 200,000+

Number of people killed in the Philippines drug war since 2016: 12,000+
Number of students who have lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction: 200,000+ 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that syringe access programs lower HIV incidence among people who inject drugs by: 80 percent

Tax revenue that drug legalization would yield annually, if currently-illegal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco: $47 billion

More Resources

Get additional facts at the Drug War Facts website.