Youth drug use and crime relationship

youth drug use and crime relationship

Early studies of juvenile delinquents, drug use, and crime include a series of do not show any clear causal relationship between drug use and delinquency. with involvement in both drug use and crime, exploration of the idiosyncratic to their non-indigenous counterparts, to be detained in a youth detention. A review of the relevant literature revealed some evidence to suggest that the use of hard drugs escalates juvenile offending, at least in relation to property crime.

Within both the Australian and international literature, the association between substance use and criminal activity is well established. The nature of the relationship, however, is still widely debated with no overall consensus being reached on how crime and substance use influence each other. The evidence linking cannabis to crime is no exception to this debate. Among those who come into contact with the criminal justice system in Australia, cannabis remains the most widely used and most commonly detected.

Young offenders who go on to spend time in custody, in particular, are continuing to use cannabis at very high rates despite an overall decline in use among the general population of the same age. Despite the acknowledged association between substance use and offending, little research has focused specifically on the role of social factors, situations and the environment on first cannabis use, first involvement in crime and the initial and on-going relationship between the two. This study therefore aims to explore further the complex relationship between cannabis use and offending through the use of the three smaller studies: The ASI contains symptom variables describing self-reported psychiatric symptoms during the past 30 days prior to incarceration and previously.

Here, in a control analysis, all included variables were run against lifetime history of depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, hallucinations, and difficulties thinking, remembering, and concentrating.

This yielded the same statistical associations with violent crime and with fatal violence as in the original analyses. With the exception of anxiety showing a marginally significant association with violent crime, none of these self-reported symptom variables were associated with violent crime. As these variables are self-reported, conclusions are difficult to draw about their potential association with violent crime.

This calls for study designs where actual psychiatric diagnoses can be followed and run against violent and other criminal behaviors, and the lack of such diagnostic data is a limitation of the present prison material. The present work also has other limitations: Also, included data are cross-sectional and substance use variables described here refer to lifetime use, although specified as regular and with a duration of at least half a year.

Clients are included in the study because of a significant substance-related problem, such that it can be assumed that substance use had been clearly problematic in close proximity to the crime committed and prior to incarceration; however, substance use may have varied over time and an absolute link cannot be established between the actual use of a substance and crimes committed.

Instead, in a relatively large data material, we have aimed to describe how types of crime vary across different patterns of substance use and also to demonstrate how substance use problems likely to require treatment differ across types of crime. Also, although substance use data do not refer to the most recent period of time prior to incarceration, memory bias cannot be excluded. Again, substance use data and data on lifetime history of psychiatric hospitalization were supposed to demonstrate the problem burden of an individual over time, rather than specifically prior to incarceration, but a potentially negative effect of time on the reliability of self-reported data cannot be disregarded.

In addition, as the data used here were collected between andit cannot be excluded that associations and interpretations studied here may have undergone some change, e. Another limitation is — as in any analysis of criminal verdicts — that data reflect the type of crime for which the individual was sentenced, rather than all criminal behavior.

youth drug use and crime relationship

Here, it was assumed that self-reported data on criminal behavior may have a weaker reliability and that the focus on the main crime in the verdict would reflect objective information about the most severe crime known and included in the verdict. Also, the analysis of the main crime — rather than subjective data on all-type criminality — was chosen in order to enable a study of distinctly separate categories of crime.

The present study addressed a data material of prisoners, which may not be generalizable to subjects who commit crimes that are not likely to lead to prison; however, the organizational structures of correctional institutions are very diverse between countries.

Likewise, the distinction between prison and forensic psychiatry is likely to be very different in different settings. In the present study, despite high prevalence of psychiatric morbidity, it can be assumed that included subjects do not suffer from a diagnosed severe mental illness, such as a psychotic disorder, as these conditions typically lead to forensic psychiatric treatment as a response to criminal acts.

Finding Hope out of Addiction and Crime

This may limit generalizability of these findings to settings where prison and court-ordered psychiatric treatments are less separated. In addition, a large majority of the prisoners included here were men, such that generalizability may be limited to populations of female prisoners with substance use. The present study may further support the need for large-scale and high-quality clinical studies of how benzodiazepines and other sedatives affect aggressive behavior.

Also, in addition, the results may have clinical implications for evaluation and treatment of substance use disorders in prisoners. Studies on substance use disorders treatment for prevention of crime have focused on opiate dependence 41 and amphetamine.

youth drug use and crime relationship

Further studies are needed addressing how treatment of alcohol and sedative use disorders may influence crime and criminal recidivism. Conclusion In this sample of prisoners with substance use problems, traditional illicit drug use may be less common in violent perpetrators than in clients sentenced for other crime, and in contrast, sedatives use and alcohol binge drinking were more prevalent in violent offenders.

Among the subgroup of violent offenders with substance use, sedatives may be positively associated and illicit drugs negatively associated with fatal violence. Acknowledgments The authors are grateful to the staff of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service for the interview data collection and to the statistical register service of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service for their help with the register data collection.

Key findings from the Drug Use Careers of Juvenile Offenders study

AH was the principal investigator of the overall project. VJ carried out statistical analyses and wrote the first draft of the paper. AH finalized the writing of the manuscript. Both authors contributed toward data analysis, drafting and revising the paper and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Exploring the relationship between cannabis use and crime among adolescents

These collaborations are unrelated to the present paper. The authors report no other conflicts of interest in this work. Bennett T, Holloway K. The causal connection between drug misuse and crime. Fazel S, Bains, Doll H. Substance abuse and dependence in prisoners: However, for most youths, detention is the result of a long criminal history comprised of less serious offences. Detention was not a new experience for half of the DUCO juvenile sample: In a face-to-face interview, juvenile offenders were asked a number of questions relating to their involvement in 11 different offence types see Figure 1.

For each offence, the youths were asked whether they had a ever committed that offence, regardless of whether the offence had been detected by the police, and b committed that offence often 'regular offending' Regular offending was self-defined by each offender, a measure which is consistent with the adult male and adult female studies.

youth drug use and crime relationship

Lifetime prevalence of offending and regular offending per cent Source: Regular violent behaviour was less prevalent, with 29 per cent of youths indicating that they assaulted others regularly.

Juveniles in detention report involvement in a wide variety of offence types. Specialisation the tendency to commit only one offence type was extremely rare among the juveniles in this study. They reported regularly engaging in five to seven of the offence types listed in this study; therefore offender classifications using discrete offence types were inappropriate.

youth drug use and crime relationship

Instead, it was possible to differentiate the juveniles based on the severity of their regular offending patterns. The final result indicated three categories of juvenile offenders: Almost all juveniles had used at least one substance prior to their current period of detention. Two thirds of the DUCO juveniles had used two or more of these substances. Regular use was self-defined and applied only to the six months prior to the current period of detention.

Moreover, one in five juveniles were current regular users of amphetamines and 29 per cent were regularly using two or more substances in the six months prior to their arrest.