Substance.com

Get involved in the conversation.

Samantha Felix Samantha Felix

Graphic: The Depressing Reality of Racist US Drug Law Enforcement


This simple chart illustrates the extent to which your race affects your chances of going to prison for a drug offense.

6 Substance
Score


In the US there is a massive disparity between the racial makeup of (illegal) drug users and the racial makeup of those arrested on drug charges. Recent studies by SAMHSA show that 72% of all drug users are white—but just 25% of drug prisoners are white, while 60% are black.

The percentage of drug users within each race is roughly the same—about 10% of the African American population, 8.7% of caucasians and 8.4% of latinos are classified as drug users. Given that 72% of the US population is white, color-blind policing ought to result in a very different prison population.

“Black Americans were nearly four times as likely as whites to be arrested on charges of marijuana possession in 2010, even though the two groups used the drug at similar rates, according to new federal data,” reported the New York Times last year.

This simple graphic by AddictingInfo spells it out even more starkly: