SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A large number of arrests by the Sioux Falls Police Department (SFPD) involve drugs or drug paraphernalia. In all, there have been more than 5,000 arrests involving drug charges since 2021 in Sioux Falls, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

In all, these 5,049 arrests with drug-related charges from 2021 to 2023 (2023 data is through Oct. 27, 2023) account for just 16.04% of the 31,469 total arrests made by the SFPD in that time period.

This 16% marker also filters down to the year-over-year data provided by the SFPD. In 2021, drug-related arrests accounted for 16.94% of the 11,441 arrests that year. In 2022, the numbers were 15.09% of 11,047. So far in 2023, we’ve seen 16.08% of a total 8,981 (as of October 27).

Within the data are a large number of different charges with the plurality being varieties of possession charges such as possession of marijuana, possession or use of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled drug or substance.

In 2021, ‘possession’ type charges accounted for 98.61% of all arrests with drug-related charges.
In 2022, these accounted for 98.56% of charges.
In 2023, so far, it has been 98.26% of charges.

As of October 27, 2023, just 25 of the 1,444 drug-related do not include a ‘possession’-type charge.

These 25 charges are comprised of ingestion charges, inhabiting a room knowing drugs are kept or used there, consumption of alcohol or any drug under twenty-one, and involuntary commitment for alcohol or drugs.

One particular thing of note that stood out in the data was a drop in marijuana charges from 2021 to 2022 which may be attributable to the legalization of medical marijuana, which went into effect in the summer of 2021.

In 2021, 901 of the total 1,938 arrests (about 46%) with drug related charges involved marijuana. In 2022, number dropped to 515 out of 1,667 (around 31%). So far in 2023, marijuana charges account for 35.18% of arrests with drug-related charges.