Florida’s Drug Use

Even seeming minor drug crimes, like possessing even a small amount of marijuana can lead to a criminal conviction, jail time, and revocation of your driver’s license.

Due to its location, Florida has long been a gateway for drug smuggling operations. As a result, the state sees numerous arrests for drug crimes each year while state and federal authorities seize millions of dollars in drugs coming into and being sold in Florida.

According to a 2008 report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Florida law enforcement officials arrested over 155,000 adults and another 14,000 juveniles for drug crimes. FBI statistics indicate that over 12 percent of all arrests in 2008 were for drug offenses, the most in any category. In the United States, 20 percent of state prisoners and over 50 percent of federal inmates are incarcerated for a drug crime, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Cocaine the Primary Threat

Nationwide, the DEA seized nearly 50,000 kilograms of cocaine in 2009. Nearly 20 percent of all the cocaine seized by the DEA, over 9,000 kilograms, was in Florida.

The DEA states that cocaine is the primary drug threat in Florida, despite the fact that nearly four times the amount of marijuana was seized in the state – over 33,000 kilograms last year. Nationwide, the DEA seized over 660,000 kilograms of marijuana in 2009, roughly the same amount seized in 2008.

The National Drug Intelligence Center 2008 report notes that though marijuana accounts for the most arrests and treatment admissions, the most negative impacts on society, and personal impacts for those convicted, are most often associated with cocaine. Crack cocaine is particularly problematic as it is relatively inexpensive, easy to get and extremely addictive.

Marijuana the Biggest Problem

Florida has publicly-funded treatment centers around the state. Despite the focus on cocaine as the primary threat, most people seeking treatment at these centers are not seeking treatment for cocaine addiction.

According to a report by the National Drug Intelligence Center, marijuana was the leading category for drug related treatment admissions with over 13,000 admissions statewide in 2006, down from a high of over 30,000 in 2004. Cocaine, both powdered and crack cocaine, ranked second with over 11,000 admissions. Pharmaceutical drugs, heroin and amphetamines, including meth, were responsible for over 7,000 admissions collectively.

Working with an Attorney

Florida takes an aggressive approach to prosecuting drug crimes. If you are facing charges for any type of drug crime, it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights.