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In 2019, 82% of female arrestees tested positive for at least one illicit substance. File photo
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SANDAG report highlights drug, abuse trends among local female arrestees

REGION — Female arrestees in the San Diego region were more likely to have serious, longstanding drug issues and histories of abuse than their male counterparts, according to a report released today by the San Diego Association of Governments.

The report, which examined gender differences between adult arrestees in 2019, concluded substance abuse was at a 20-year high among arrestees in the region, with four out of five testing positive for any drug in 2019, and one in three testing positive for multiple drugs.

In 2019, 82% of female arrestees tested positive for at least one illicit substance, an increase of 3% from 2018.

While drug use was high across the board, women were more likely to have their first offense be a drug offense, or have a current arrest for a drug offense, the report found.

However, female arrestees were also more likely to report they would complete drug treatment, even if it was not required, according to the report.

Women were additionally more likely to report having a history of poverty, trauma or abuse, including being homeless due to an abusive situation or being a victim of a crime they did not report.

Female arrestees were less likely to report working full-time, despite being more likely to have pursued some type of education after high school.

Due to the differences in risks that female arrestees face, as well as an increased willingness to complete drug treatment, the report found that addressing substance abuse both during incarceration and in the community may prove more important for women.

Women were also more likely to report having children than male arrestees, making the role of children an important factor for successful re-entry for female offenders, the report found.

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