In the 1970s, a movement called the War on Drugs began as a way to stop the use of illegal drugs, as well as implement tougher penalties for drug offenders. However, by looking at the number of drug-related crimes in the United States, it appears this type of crime is still a huge problem. It has recently been reported that drug arrests are actually on the rise, with nearly 1.6 million drug-related arrests in 2016.

In order to better understand why drug crimes continue to be a problem, it's helpful to know about the different types of drug crimes. Here are four of the most common ones.

1. Drug Paraphernalia

Equipment that's necessary for a user to do drugs is called drug paraphernalia. When someone gets charged with drug paraphernalia, it means they were caught having certain equipment such as:

  • Rolling papers
  • Bongs
  • Needles
  • Small mirrors
  • Pipes

It's against the law to sell, import, or export any of this type of equipment.

2. Possession

If anyone is in possession of illegal drugs, they will get charged with a crime. Some of the most common illegal substances include:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Marijuana

Most people who get caught with a small amount of illegal drugs will usually get charged with possession. If they have large amounts, however, they may end up getting charged with possession with intent to distribute. If they have both drugs and any drug paraphernalia, they could get charged with both crimes.

3. Drug Manufacturing

If it appears a person is in the process of making an illegal drug, they can get charged with drug manufacturing. Making drugs could involve growing or producing certain ingredients that are used in the production of an illegal substance. Anyone who has a home drug lab, stockpiles of certain chemicals, or drug-manufacturing equipment could potentially get charged with drug manufacturing.

4. Drug Dealing and Trafficking

Although both dealing and trafficking involve the selling of drugs, there are some differences between these two charges:

  • Trafficking - Usually involves the transporting or importing of large amounts of drugs
  • Dealing - Usually involves one person selling a small amount of drugs to someone else

In most instances, a person will get charged with either trafficking or dealing, depending on the amount of drugs that are involved.

When it comes to these types of crimes, the sentence for breaking a drug offense law will largely depend on the specific charge and the location the crime was committed. Drug offense law can be difficult to navigate on your own, so it's important to contact a drug offense lawyer in your area to help represent you or a loved one who's charged with a drug-related crime.