About 83 percent of men arrested in Chicago last year tested positive for illegal drugs, according to a federal study that put Chicago at the top of 10 major U.S. cities.
That percentage is actually somewhat lower than in years past, the study by the Office of National Drug Control Policy said. In 2001, for instance, 89.6 percent of adult men arrested in Chicago tested positive for drugs.
Low city on the list was Washington D.C., with 52 percent. Next closest to Chicago was Sacramento at 80 percent. Other cities in the study were Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New York and Portland.
The study, the fourth conducted, was done to illustrate the link between drug use and crime. Nationally, more than half of adult males arrested tested positive for at least one drug.
"These findings illustrate why we must approach the nation's drug problem as a public health and safety problem," said Gil Kerlikowski, director of the drug control policy office. "Drug addiction is too often the root of crime in our communities."
But the report said overall drug use in the United States has dropped substantially over the past 30 years, roughly half the rate it was in the late 1970s.
The report also showed a significant decrease in cocaine use over the years. Marijuana was the most commonly used drug.
Of the men arrested for selling drugs in Chicago, 73 percent tested positive for marijuana while 44 percent tested positive for multiple drugs and 27 percent tested positive for opiates.
Men 21 and younger tested the highest for drug use at 84 percent with those 36 and older testing 71 percent positive.
Cocaine use was highest among the older arrestees at 47 percent while the youngest tested at 8 percent. Conversely, the youngest tested the highest for marijuana use at 79 percent while the oldest tested at 25 percent.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun