The numbers, released on Monday, show that there were 1,572,579 drug arrests in the U.S. in 2016.
That’s an average of one drug arrest every 20 seconds.
The total number is up roughly 5.6% from the 1,488,707 arrests for drug crimes in the country in 2015.
The increasing drug bust rate stands in contrast to the public-health-focused rhetoric from Obama administration drug officials who consistently tried to move away from “war on drugs” terminology.
“Locking people up for minor drug offenses, and especially people with substance-use disorders, is not the answer,” Michael Botticelli, then Obama’s White House Office of National Drug Control Policy director, said in a 2015 interview. “It’s cruel. It’s costly. And it doesn’t make the public any safer.”
In a PBS appearance last year, Botticelli, commonly referred to as the drug czar, called treating substance misuse as a crime “inhumane” and said, “we can’t arrest our way out of the problem.”
Similarly, he told 60 Minutes: “We can’t arrest and incarcerate addiction out of people. Not only do I think it’s really inhumane, but it’s ineffective and it cost us billions upon billions of dollars to keep doing this.”