Washington Secrets

Chicago No. 1 in drugged-out men cuffed by cops

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Illinois,Chicago

Nearly nine in 10 men arrested in Chicago last year tested positive for at least one drug, tops in a new federal report.

The report from President Obama's drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, showed that 86 percent of men arrested in 2012 in Chicago had at least one drug in their system. The report also showed that Chicago led in the percentage of men arrested testing positive for marijuana, at 58 percent. The city also led in three key crime areas: 91 percent had prior arrests, 27 percent were arrested for violent crimes, 43 percent for drug crimes.

While there was a noticeable decline in the arrests of Hispanic men, arrests increased among blacks. "The largest proportions of African-American male arrestees continued to be in Atlanta (80 percent) and Chicago (76 percent)," said the report. "The proportion of African-American adult male arrestees has increased significantly since 2008 in Chicago," it added.

Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, drew attention to the part of his 148-page report that notes how few of those arrested have gone through counseling or treatment and he suggested that it is time to offer help in order to alter the connection between drugs and crime.

"To stop the revolving door of the criminal justice system in America we must address not only serious criminal activity but, equally important, the underlying substance-use disorders," said Kerlikowske. "This report confirms an urgent need to support policy reforms outlined in the administration's new drug policy strategy that emphasize prevention, treatment, and 'smart on crime' policies that break the vicious cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration in America."

Chicago has been suffering through a terrible crime wave despite the efforts of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the president's former chief of staff.

The drug czar's report surveyed men arrested in Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, New York and Sacramento, Calif. The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Annual Report found that positive test results among arrestees ranged from 62 percent in Atlanta to 86 percent in Chicago.

It also found that 70 percent of those testing positive had never received any form of treatment for drug or alcohol abuse.

The administration has adopted a new policy that directs agencies to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug abuse before it begins, empower health care workers to intervene early at the first signs of a substance use disorder, expand access to treatment for those who need it, and support the millions of Americans in recovery, according to the drug czar's office.

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