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Drug Use, Dependence, and Abuse Among State Prisoners and Jail Inmates, 2007-2009

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2017
27 pages
Publication Series
Based on the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics' (BJS') 2007-09 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), this report presents data on drug use, dependence, and abuse among State prisoners and jail inmates for this period, comparing it to the prevalence of drug dependence or abuse in the general population (age 18 or older); and the demographics of prison and jail inmates with drug dependence are reported, along with drug treatment prevalence.

Presents prevalence estimates of drug use, drug use disorders, and participation in drug treatment programs among state prisoners and sentenced jail inmates, including trends in drug use over time by demographics and most serious offense, drug use at the time of offense and whether an inmate committed the offense to obtain drugs, and comparisons to the general population. Data are from BJS's National Inmate Survey, conducted in 2007 and 2008-09. Comparisons to the general population are based on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations National Survey on Drug Use and Health, conducted in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

  • During 2007-09, an estimated 58% of state prisoners and 63% of sentenced jail inmates met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria for drug dependence or abuse.
  • Among prisoners and jail inmates, prevalence estimates for those who met the criteria for dependence were two to three times higher than for abuse.
  • The percentage of inmates who met the DSM-IV criteria was higher for those held for property offenses than those held for violent or other public order offenses.
  • Lifetime drug use among the incarcerated populations was unchanged from 2002 to 2009.
  • During 2007-09, prisoners (77%) and jail inmates (78%) reported having ever used marijuana/hashish, more than any other drug.

Date Published: June 1, 2017