1 Drug Arrests
A policeman grabs his belt and we can see his holstered gun.

Over 1 Million Arrests

are made for drug law violations in the U.S. each year.

Source: FBI

Drug offenses are a leading cause of arrest in the U.S.

These arrests more often impact impact Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people and those with low-income. Two-thirds of Americans support eliminating criminal penalties for drug possession and replacing them with a new approach centered in public health.

Source: ACLU

Every 31 seconds, someone is arrested for a drug offense

Every 31 seconds, someone is arrested for a drug offense. Over 85% of drug arrests are for possession alone.

Source: FBI

Black people are 24% of those arrested due to targeted policing

Black people are 24% of those arrested, but only make up 13% of the U.S. population -- and people of all races use and sell drugs at similar rates. This arrest rate is instead due to targeted policing, surveillance, and punishment tactics.

Source: FBI

2 Incarceration
Barbed wire fencing outside a jail.

1 in 5

Of the nearly 2 million people currently incarcerated in the U.S., 1 in 5 is locked up for a drug offense.

Source: Prison Policy Initiative

Incarceration harms people.

Locking people up for drug offenses blocks them from support. It can later get in the way of finding a job, education, or a place to live. We need to prioritize supporting people, not incarcerating them.

Fatal overdose increased over 600%

Fatal drug or alcohol overdose increased over 600% in state prisons from 2001-2018. Treatment or medications for substance use disorder are rarely available in prison.

Source: U. S. Department of Justice

People face up to 50 times higher risk of overdose

People face up to 50 times higher risk of overdose in their first weeks after release from jail or prison, compared to the general population.

Source: National Institutes of Health

3 Systemic Impact
A hand holds a drug test strip; a urine specimen is in the background.

Mandated drug testing harms millions.

Nearly a quarter of the U.S. workforce is subject to employer-mandated drug testing. That’s 38 million people.

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive

Drug war punishment goes beyond arrest and incarceration.

Social services, education, housing, employment, and other systems should support people and communities. Instead, they too often punish people who use drugs, and deny them help and opportunity.

Drug use is the second-highest source of student referrals to police

Drug use is the second-highest source of student referrals to police. It can lead to cutting off students from programs that are most likely to help them succeed.

Source: ACLU

Drug offenses were second most common cause of deportation

After illegal entry, drug offenses were the most common cause of deportation in 2019.

Source: Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse

4 Overdose

Overdoses are rising, but they are preventable.

One lifesaving solution is overdose prevention centers (OPCs). They reduce the risks of drug use, prevent overdose deaths, and connect people to ongoing care. Sixty-four percent of voters support opening OPCs.

Source: Data for Progress

107,600 people died

107,600 people died from an accidental overdose in the U.S. in 2021. Black and Native people have the highest rates of overdose nationwide.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pew Research Center

Overdose prevention centers save lives.

More than 600 overdoses were reversed at the overdose prevention centers run by OnPoint NYC in their first year of operation.

Source: OnPoint NYC

5 Financial Impact
Police in riot gear are lined up outside a city building.

$47 billion

is the estimated cost to enforce drug prohibition in the U.S. every year.

Source: CATO Institute

U.S. government spends billions each year enforcing the drug war.

To support people and address the root causes of drug use, the government must reinvest funds back into the communities most harmed by the drug war.

Taxpayers spent $3.3 billion funding the DEA

Taxpayers spent $3.3 billion funding the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 2021. The agency costs $6,300 per minute to run.

Source: Drug Enforcement Administration

$169 million worth of military equipment to fight drug war in 2022

$169 million worth of military equipment was transferred to law enforcement through the 1033 program in 2022. This program militarizes police with armored vehicles, body armor, and rifles to monitor and punish drug use, sales, and activity.

Source: Defense Logistics Agency

6 Marijuana Policy
Leaves of marijuana plants.

Every 90 seconds

someone was arrested for marijuana in 2020.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Americans want marijuana legalization. How we do it matters.

88% of U.S. adults agree marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use. As states legalize and regulate, they must do it right. Reforms need to center health, justice, equity, and reinvestment.

Source: Pew Research Center

Marijuana possession made up 30% of drug-related arrests in 2020

Marijuana possession made up 30% of drug-related arrests in 2020. For decades, personal possession of marijuana was the most arrested drug offense in the U.S.

Source: FBI

Black people are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana

Black people are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people nationally, despite similar rates of use. This disparity is even higher in many states.

Source: ACLU

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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