Universities with the Highest Rate of Drug Arrests

car on downtown street being pulled over by police

By Cristina Utti

Colleges that receive federal funding are legally obligated to provide annual reports about crimes on or around their campuses. A new report from Project Know has shown that there were 44,873 arrests and over 250,000 disciplinary actions on college campuses across the United States for drug and alcohol-related offenses in 2014.

Although the two maps below are not exactly the same, the cluster of colleges and universities with the highest arrest records is prominent in the northeastern and western states. The information on the first map comes from Project Know (http://www.projectknow.com/discover/drugs-on-campus-2014/), a website that provides information about getting help for drug addictions. It analyzed drug and alcohol arrests on campuses in 2013, only analyzing the data from colleges and universities that had more than 5000 students so the data would not be skewed by the numbers in smaller colleges. The information on the second map comes from the Department of Education’s Office of Post-Secondary Education.




colleges highest rates drug arrests - ranch at dove tree - 001-most-on-campus-drugarrests2011

(Images via ProjectKnow.com)

Although the maps show the largest problems to be in the northeast states, the highest drug arrests in 2014 were in Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Delaware. All of these states had a median average of arrests that were 2.3 times higher than the rest of the country, with Montana ranking the highest at 4.8 per 1000 students.

As for which states had the highest increase in college campus drug arrests, the results are as follows:

  • Alaska had a 54.4% increase from 2013 to 2014.
  • Alabama came in next with 47.9% increase in this same year.
  • Florida ranked third at 40.1%.
  • South Carolina’s colleges ranked fourth with a 39.5% increase.
  • Maine ranked fifth at 32.7% increase in arrests.

New York has a consistent bad rap for the highest drug arrests, yet according to the data above, we can see that the state as a whole has not had an increase in drug arrests on campus. Yet, according to recent studies, a specific college in New York has ranked number one with the largest increase in drug arrests.

  • Ithaca College – 312% increase
  • Northern Illinois College – 240% increase
  • Morehead State University – 213% increase
  • Georgia Southern University – 176% increase
  • Dixie State University – 163% increase

Increases in drug arrests may not only be attributed to a sudden rise in drug offenders. It can also be due to new reporting procedures and colleges cracking down on drug use on campus. It is a good idea to research the college your child is interested in, especially if addiction is a concern.

You or someone you love in need of addiction treatment? Contact the Ranch at Dove Tree today at 800.218.6727. We know what you are going through and we can help you begin the process of recovery.


Camera, Lauren. January 26, 2016. These States Have the Most Campus Alcohol and Drug Arrests. Retrieved April, 2016.

Jacobs, Peter, January 31, 2014. The Colleges with the Most On-Campus Drug and Alcohol Arrests. Retrieved April, 2016.

Kingkaid, Tyler. January 25, 2015. Ranking of Colleges with the Most Drug Arrests Per Capita Counts Several SUNY Campuses. Retrieved April, 2016.