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High Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Five Year Overview of Indicators of Illegal Drug Activity in South Carolina

NCJ Number
Rob McManus
Date Published
June 2013
345 pages
Based primarily on incident reports submitted to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) by State and local law enforcement agencies, this report presents a 5-year (State fiscal year 2007-08 through State fiscal year 2010-12) overview of indicators of illegal drug activity in South Carolina.
The rates for most statewide indicators of the legal system's response to illegal drug activity declined from 2007 to 2011. During this period, the total drug arrest rate decreased 18.4 percent. The marijuana arrest rate decreased 9.9 percent; the combined cocaine arrest rate decreased 48.2 percent; the crack cocaine arrest rate decreased 49.9 percent; and the powder cocaine arrest rate decreased 44.6 percent. Although the arrest rate for stimulants increased 65 percent and the arrest rate for opiates increased 27.8 percent during the same period, when combined, these two drug categories were relatively minor contributors to the overall volume (7.6 percent) of drug arrests. Reflecting the general pattern of declining indicators of response to illegal drug activity, from FY 2008 to FY 2012, the number of probation admissions for drug offenses decreased 30.7 percent, and the number of inmate commitments that involved drug offenses decreased 38.9 percent. By a large margin, marijuana is apparently the illicit drug of choice in South Carolina. Arrests involving marijuana accounted for 64.7 percent of drug arrests from 2007 to 2011. Young adults constituted a high-risk population for drug arrests and self-reported drug use. They were also the highest risk group for commitment to community correctional supervision for drug offenses and incarceration for drug offenses. Males (81.9 percent of total drug arrests) outnumbered females in every reported category of indicators of illegal drug activity. Minority racial groups were overrepresented on several counts of illegal drug use. Extensive tables and 8 lists of data sources