But Jeffrey Butts, who examines crime reduction strategies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said programs that label recreational drug users as addicts can be actually be dangerous. “Trying marijuana is typical during the teenage years,” he said. So “we can end up doing more harm than good by singling someone out and saying ‘you’re not normal and we need to do something special with you .’”
Between 1991 and 2006, arrests for drug sales and manufacturing actually dropped 6 percent while arrests for possession climbed 139 percent. The same pattern was observed for arrests involving offenders of different ages, but the growth in drug possession arrests was sharpest among juveniles.