• Torben Bjorn Hansen

Yesterday, I pointed to a Sun-Times story about a federal drug study released this week of illegal drug use by male arrestees in ten cities. I quarreled with the paper’s interchangeable use of “arrestees” and “criminals.” But a bigger shortcoming of the Sun-Times piece was that it ignored important news.

The Sun-Times highlighted the fact that 83 percent of the Cook County arrestees in the study, conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, tested positive for at least one illegal drug, and that this put Chicago at the top of the list of the ten cities studied.

But since the study’s inception in 2000, Chicago has always been at or near the top of this list, and the percent testing positive here has always been above 80. What’s also worth noting now is that the percent testing positive here for cocaine and heroin fell last year, and has declined sharply since 2000.