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Adult Arrestee Drug Use in the San Diego Region 2006

NCJ Number
Cynthia Burke Ph.D.
Date Published
August 2007
21 pages
Based on urinalysis and self-reports from adult arrestees in San Diego County (California) in 2006, this research bulletin presents information on their drug use, factors related to drug use, participation in other risky behavior, prior receipt of drug and/or mental health treatment, and reentry experiences after incarceration.
Data show that in 2006, 75 percent of adult females and 66 percent of adult males arrested in the San Diego County tested positive for marijuana, meth, cocaine, heroin, and/or PCP. Even though fewer arrestees tested positive for meth in 2006 compared to 2005, it remained the drug of choice for arrestees. Meth use was highest among 25- to 39-year-olds. Cocaine and heroin use was highest among arrestees 40 years old and older. Male arrestees were more likely to report recent alcohol use and to test positive for marijuana; female arrestees were more likely to test positive for meth, cocaine, and heroin. Slightly more than one in three arrestees reported illegally using prescription drugs in the past. Drug market distribution varied by drug type, with heroin users making purchases more often from a regular source and traveling farther to do so. Since 2004, a greater percentage of meth and powder cocaine users have indicated these drugs have become more difficult to obtain. Arrestees with drug-use histories were more likely to report mental health issues, suggesting the importance of dual diagnosis and treatment when working with this population. In addition to age, other factors related to current drug use were ethnicity, current employment status, prior arrest history, and parental drug use. One in three arrestees reported they had received alcohol or other drug treatment in the past. When asked to describe the most difficult problems faced when returning home from previous incarceration, the most common answers were employment (30 percent), housing (28 percent), and substance abuse treatment (16 percent). 6 tables