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The connections between substance dependence, offense type, and offense severity

Albert M. Kopak, Lisa Vartanian, Norman G. Hoffmann, Dana E. Hunt


August 4, 2014
The link between drug use and crime has been broadly described, but little detail is known about the contributions of alcohol and drug dependence to different types of offending. Data were drawn from the 2010 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring II (ADAM II) program to examine the relationships between dependence, offense type, and severity among recent male arrestees (N = 3,006). A substantial proportion (ranging from 15% to 39%) of arrestees across all offense types and severity levels endorsed drug-dependent items. Smaller proportions (between 5% and 16%) of arrestees endorsed alcohol-dependent items. Drug dependence was associated with higher odds of receiving felony charges and higher probability of being charged with a substance-related offense. Alcohol dependence was associated with lower odds of felony charges, but greater probability of being charged with a violent offense. Assessment and treatment provisions need to be systematically implemented to reduce these types of offenses. 
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