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Criminality of Narcotic Addicts

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1985
9 pages
A review of recent research by independent investigators provides strong evidence of a causal relationship between narcotic drug use and crime, the latter increasing during active addition periods and decreasing during nonaddiction periods.
In addition to drug sales and possession, addict crimes involve a significant number of serious offenses. The strongest evidence of a causal relationship between narcotic drug use and crime comes from longitudinal studies in which the amount of crime committed during active addiction period far exceeds that committed during nonaddiction periods. The use of confidential self-report interviews has permitted the identification of different types of addicts with regard to the amounts and types of crimes they commit. Although addicts as a general class of offenders commit a great amount of crime, they do not constitute a homogeneous class. Some addicts commit many crimes regardless of current addiction status; whereas, others commit relatively few crimes, and these are related to their need to support drug purchases. There is a discernible impact of treatment on narcotic drug use and criminality. Although the relationships between addict characteristics and treatment response have yet to be fully determined, extensive prior criminal involvement is associated with a negative outcome. 3 figures and 54 references. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1985