Statistics show downward trend in Alaska drug arrests

Arrest totals in Alaska appear to be going down. A study by the Alaska Justice Center shows that trend holds true with drug arrests specifically.

Between 2000 and 2012, the total number of arrests in Alaska declined nearly 15 percent.

In that time span, juvenile arrests decreased by more than half. Brad Myrstol is the director of the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center. He says drug-related juvenile arrests went down around 25 percent, but the types of drugs involved appears to be changing.

“The proportion of juvenile drug arrests for marijuana have increased notably in recent years,” Myrstol said. “Meanwhile, the proportion of juvenile drug arrests for narcotics have dropped off quite precipitously.”

Difference for adults

Though drug offense arrests for adults have decreased as well, Myrstol says the statistics paint a different picture for adults.

“In general, the trend for adults is that adult drug offense arrests for marijuana are on the decline, and adult drug offense arrests for narcotics have been stable,” Myrstol said.

Regardless of whether the arrests involve an adult or a juvenile, one fact remains the same — the vast majority of those arrests are for possession. And that is something Myrstol says is important to understand.

“There’s, I think, an inherent assumption oftentimes that what we’re talking about is the sale, manufacture and distribution of illicit drugs,” Myrstol said.

But that’s just not the case. Over the past decade, about 26 percent of drug-related crimes for adults and around 15 percent of juvenile drug arrests involved the sale, manufacture and distribution of drugs.

– Josh Edge, APRN –

Related stories from around the North:

United States:  Western Alaska leaders fret over marijuana legalization in rural communities, Alaska Dispatch

Canada:  Pot raids in Canada’s Arctic and Montreal net 1,000 plants, 22 kgs, CBC News



Caroline Arbour

Caroline got her start in journalism at RCI, filing items in French and English from its Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver bureaus. Bitten by the radio bug, she also nevertheless subsequently tried her hand at reporting for television, print and the Web, freelancing for Radio-Canada, CBC, Voice of America, L’actualité magazine and The Atlantic’s business site Quartz. Her favourite stories to cover are ones that show resilience in its many forms and also ones that highlight no issue is ever black and white. In Caroline’s wildest and weirdest dreams, she imagines spending her days roaming the Andalusian countryside on a vintage motorcycle, photographing its diverse and stunning beauty.

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