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Pilot Study Regarding the Interrelationship of Alcohol and Drugs and Crime Among Adult American Indians -- A Prevalence and Methodological Study (Video)

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2002
0 pages
This video is a presentation of the National Institute of Justice Research in Progress Seminar Series about the possible link between alcohol and crime among American Indians.
The principal investigator on this study, Phillip A. May, is the main speaker. He describes the research and the preliminary findings of the study about the interrelationship of alcohol and drugs and crime among adult American Indians. He begins by explaining that this is a primarily methodological study and that this area of research has been neglected in the past. The research team studied two tribes, one in North Dakota and one in South Dakota. He describes these tribes as representative of all tribes in the northern plains region. The population of each tribe was approximately 65,000. The objectives of the study were to determine the specific rate and etiology of alcohol-related crime within the two tribes; to describe the characteristics of the drinking session that resulted in an arrest; to determine the current use of illicit substances among the study population; to determine the history of criminal involvement, including recidivism and neuropsychological characteristics; and to survey law enforcement officers about their perspectives on crime and drugs. The study involved the use of extensive questionnaires and tribal police data. County and local police records were excluded from the study; the focus was on tribal police arrests. Some of the important findings included the fact that there were approximately 1,500 arrests in Tribe T and 840 arrests in Tribe S. Of those arrested in each tribe, 74 percent in Tribe T were male while 63 percent in Tribe S were male. Eighty percent and 83 percent of the arrests in each tribe were alcohol-related. Eighty-four percent of the arrestees reported binge drinking within the 30 days prior to the survey, compared to 35 percent of the community at large. Over 50 percent of the arrestees reported staying drunk for more than 1 day. The main conclusions of the research were that severe binge drinking was the major problem among arrestees; that alcohol-related crime was influenced by family behavior; that the other main drug of choice among arrestees was marijuana; that arrestees were poor judges of their own drug problems; that poor education was related to crime and drug use; and that police officers had accurate perceptions of drug-related crime.

Date Published: January 1, 2002