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Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime
Age-specific Arrest Rate Trends
Q: What is the trend for age-specific arrest rates for drug law violations?
A: Across ages, drug abuse violation arrest rates were higher in 2011 than in 1980.
Drug law violation arrests per 100,000 population, 1980, 1997, 2011

[ Text only ]  [ Excel file ]

  • The peak year for juvenile drug abuse violation arrest rates was 1997. Between 1980 and 1997, arrest rates doubled on average for youth ages 15-17, as did arrest rates for adults ages 18-24. By comparison, rates for adults ages 30-34 tripled and rates for those ages 40-44 increased by a factor of 6.
  • Between 1997 and 2011, drug abuse violation arrest rates declined for juveniles and most adults. For example, the rate fell 37% for youth ages 15-17, compared with 17% for adults ages 18-20 and 5% for adults age 21-24.
  • Overall from 1980 to 2011, the drug abuse violation arrest rates for youth ages 15-17 increased 25%. In comparison, the rates increased more for adults age 18 and older. More specifically, the rates increased 88% for adults ages 18-24, 140% for adults ages 25-29, 231% for those ages 30-34, 326% for those ages 35-39, and 501% for those ages 40-44. Even the arrest rates for adults ages 60-64 increased 352%.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05308.asp?qaDate=2011. Released on February 25, 2014.

Data Source: Arrest estimates developed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and disseminated through “Arrest Data Analysis Tool.” Online. Available from the BJS website.


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