78% of county's arrested men test positive for drugs

Published: Friday, May. 24, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Tuesday, May. 28, 2013 - 9:14 am

The nation's drug czar on Thursday released a report stating that 78 percent of adult males arrested in Sacramento County tested positive for at least one illegal drug.

Gil Kerlikowske , director of national drug control policy, during an address at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., released the results of a 2012 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring report that collected data from inmates in five cities or counties.

In his address, he said more than half of adult males arrested for crimes, misdemeanors and felonies tested positive for a least one drug.

The five cities or counties in the report were Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, New York and Sacramento.

Positive results ranged from 62 percent in Atlanta to 86 percent in Chicago.

"My law enforcement colleagues and I know that we cannot arrest or incarcerate our way out of the drug problem," said Kerlikowske in a copy of his prepared remarks. "Although law enforcement will always play a vital role in addressing violent drug-related crime and protecting our families and neighborhoods, we must approach drug policy from a public health standpoint, not just a criminal justice issue."

Other findings from the report:

• A total of 53 percent of those arrested in Sacramento tested positive for marijuana.

• Forty percent of Sacramento arrestees tested positive for methamphetamine.

• Sacramento had the highest proportion of methamphetamine positives, but the fewest positives for cocaine (9 percent) compared with any of the other monitoring sites.

• Seventy percent of those testing positive for any drug had never been in any drug or alcohol treatment. That, according to drug policy officials, highlights the need to expand services that address substance abuse.

• 84 percent of those tested in Sacramento had a prior arrest.

Samples were drawn from all adult men who were arrested, not just those arrested on drug charges, according to a press release from the drug policy director's office.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079. Follow him on Twitter @Lindelofnews.

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