United States

Drug mandatory minimum penalties continue to result in long sentences in the federal system

"• In fiscal year 2016, over half (52.8%) of offenders convicted of an offense carrying a drug mandatory minimum penalty faced a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years or greater.
"• In fiscal year 2016, the average sentence for offenders who were convicted of an offense carrying a drug mandatory minimum penalty was 94 months of imprisonment, more than double the average sentence (42 months) for drug offenders not convicted of an offense carrying a mandatory minimum penalty.

Growth of Fentanyl Related Deaths in the US

"Preliminary estimates of U.S. drug overdose deaths exceeded 60,000 in 2016 and were partially driven by a fivefold increase in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (excluding methadone), from 3,105 in 2013 to approximately 20,000 in 2016 (1,2). Illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50–100 times more potent than morphine, is primarily responsible for this rapid increase (3,4). In addition, fentanyl analogs such as acetylfentanyl, furanylfentanyl, and carfentanil are being detected increasingly in overdose deaths (5,6) and the illicit opioid drug supply (7).

Injection Drug Use by People in the US Aged 21-30

"In the thirteen-year (2004–2016) combined sample of young adults aged 21–30, 1.5% report having ever used any drug by injection not under a doctor’s orders, and 0.5% reported doing so on 40 or more occasions (Table 4-1a). Thus, about 1 in every 67 respondents has ever used an illicit drug by injection, and about 1 in every 200 respondents reports an extended pattern of use as indicated by use on 40 or more occasions. There is a fair-sized gender difference -- 2.3% of males vs. 0.9% of females indicate ever injecting a drug.

Provisional Counts of Overdose Deaths Can Be Misleading

The federal Centers for Disease Control reported on December 21, 2017, that there had been a total of 63,600 deaths attributed to drug overdose in the US in 2016. Based on data available for analysis on Oct. 1, 2017, the CDC's provisional count of drug overdose deaths in the US for the 12-month period ending in December 2016 had been 71,135. The difference is attributed to data quality: provisional counts are by definition incomplete, which means they can be misleading.

Washington State Data On Marijuana Use Following Enactment of I-502

"In these initial investigations, we found no evidence that I-502 enactment, on the whole, affected cannabis abuse treatment admissions. Further, within Washington State, we found no evidence that the amount of legal cannabis sales affected cannabis abuse treatment admissions.

"The bulk of outcome analyses in this report used the within-state approach to focus on identifying effects of the amount of legal cannabis sales. We found no evidence that the amount of legal cannabis sales affected youth substance use or attitudes about cannabis or drug-related criminal convictions.

Factors That May Skew Estimates of Overdose Deaths Attributed to Specific Drugs, Particularly Opioids

"First, factors related to death investigation might affect rate estimates involving specific drugs. At autopsy, the substances tested for, and circumstances under which tests are performed to determine which drugs are present, might vary by jurisdiction and over time. Second, the percentage of deaths with specific drugs identified on the death certificate varies by jurisdiction and over time. Nationally, 19% (in 2014) and 17% (in 2015) of drug overdose death certificates did not include the specific types of drugs involved.

Deaths from Drug Overdose in the United States

"During 2015, drug overdoses accounted for 52,404 U.S. deaths, including 33,091 (63.1%) that involved an opioid. There has been progress in preventing methadone deaths, and death rates declined by 9.1%. However, rates of deaths involving other opioids, specifically heroin and synthetic opioids other than methadone (likely driven primarily by illicitly manufactured fentanyl) (2,3), increased sharply overall and across many states."

DEA Versus Farmers and States Over Legal Hemp Production

"Federal law prohibits cultivation without a permit. DEA determines whether any industrial hemp production authorized under a state statute is permitted, and it enforces standards governing the security conditions under which the crop must be grown. In other words, a grower needs to get permission from DEA to grow hemp or faces the possibility of federal charges or property confiscation, regardless of whether the grower has a state-issued permit.61

Medical Marijuana Laws Associated With Reduction in Traffic Fatalities

(Medical Marijuana Laws Associated With Reduction in Traffic Fatalities) "Using population-based data from 1985 to 2014, we found that, first, states that enacted MMLs during the study period had lower fatality rates compared with states without MMLs. Second, on average, traffic fatalities further decreased in states post-MML, with both immediate (sudden change in fatality rate after MML enactment) and gradual (change in rate trend after MML enactment) declines over time in those aged 25 to 44 years.

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