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KWIC Indicator Narrative

Arrests for Drug Use/Possession/Sale

Data Provider: NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services


Related Indicators:

  • Juvenile - Arrests for Drug Use/Possession/Sale [view data]
  • Young Adult Arrests - Drug Use/Possession/Sale [view data]

Life Area:

Civic Engagement


Information related to juvenile arrests and criminal activity is collected by the Division of Criminal Justice Services through the Uniform Crime Reporting program. This data is submitted by agencies that follow the reporting guidelines outlined by the Federal Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program which are designed to capture the criminal activity of juveniles. This data is not limited to court or formal arrest actions. Data includes both formal arrests and police contacts with juveniles where there is probable cause that an offense was committed but no formal charges were filed.

Recent data quality reviews showed that reported data appeared to be incomplete for certain counties and agencies. In 2009, DCJS contacted all reporting agencies to reinforce the reporting requirements for UCR juvenile data.

Information related to young adult arrests is derived from the DCJS Computerized Criminal History system. Rates are calculated by dividing the number of reported arrests for controlled substance and marijuana offenses by an estimate of the population of each age group in a particular county or region.



Regular use of controlled substances is strongly related to health, mental health, educational attainment and other social problems for juveniles and young adults.


Community indicators are not direct measures of the population's behavior, but are instead measures of the performance of community service systems that generate them. Indicator data produced by public service or social control agencies are affected by policy shifts, resource fluctuations. degrees of centralization and standardization, local reporting practices and local service delivery differences.

Local qualitative information regarding the 'role' of the indicator in the context of its service setting must be obtained and applied when interpreting the results of indicator-based studies. The rate of young adult drug arrests is a direct measure of the law enforcement response to young adults and drug use and an indirect measure of young adult drug use in the population.


  • In 2013, there were 369 juvenile (under 16 years old) arrests for drug offenses in the non-New York City region.This represents a decrease of 35 percent from the 567 reported in 2008.
  • The rate of drug arrests per 10,000 juveniles in this region fell from 4.3 in 2008 to 2.9 in 2013.
  • Among young adults 16-21 years old, drug arrests declined 28 percent between 2008 and 2013 statewide.
  • The rate of drug arrests among this age group decreased from 202.7 per 10,000 in 2008 to 149.0 in 2013.
  • The majority of adolescent drug arrests in 2013 occurred in New York City (67.8%), and these arrests declined by 34 percent since 2008.
  • The number of drug arrests reported in the Non-New York City region fell 12 percent over the same time period.
  • The rate of drug arrests per 10,000 youth ages 16 through 21 was 3.5 times higher in New York City (267.5) than in the rest of the State (76.9).

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