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Drug Offense Cases in Juvenile Courts, 1990-1999

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2003
2 pages

This Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Fact Sheet reports on trends in drug offense cases in juvenile courts between 1990 and 1999.


Between 1990 and 1999, the number of drug offense cases in juvenile court more than doubled, with an estimated 191,200 juvenile cases in which a drug offense was the most serious charge. In 1990, 5 percent of all juvenile cases involved a drug offense, compared with 11 percent in 1999. This represents an increase of 169 percent. Males accounted for 84 to 88 percent of all drug violation cases between 1990 and 1999; White males accounted for 81 to 84 percent of drug cases, while Black males accounted for 92 to 94 percent of drug cases. The proportion of white youth charged with drug offenses increased from 54 percent in 1990 to 71 percent in 1999. On the other hand, the proportion of Black youth charged with drug offenses decreased from 44 percent in 1990 to 27 percent in 1999. In terms of case adjudication, the use of detention has declined since 1990 for cases involving drug offenses. However, between 1990 and 1999 the number of drug offense cases handled formally through the juvenile justice system increased more than 150 percent. Resources for more information are listed. Tables

Date Published: September 1, 2003