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Review of Research on Alcohol and Drug Use, Criminal Behavior, and the Criminal Justice System Response in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2009
110 pages
This report provides a detailed review of the existing literature on crime resulting from alcohol and other drug abuse in American Indian/Alaskan Native communities and the response to the problem by the criminal justice system.
This report supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) presents a summary and analysis of literature on alcohol- and drug-related crime in American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) communities. The report begins with an analysis of the epidemiology of AI/AN substance abuse providing a better understanding of the nature of alcohol and other drug use that co-occurs with AI/AN crime. Highlights of key points that emerged include: (1) national surveys indicate AI/ANs are more likely than the general public to report being symptomatic of alcohol and drug use disorders as defined in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and (2) alcohol and drug use among AI/AN youth has been the subject of a considerable amount of research, most of which indicates a higher lifetime prevalence relative to the general population. After examining existing research on substance abuse and crime in AI/AN communities, higher levels of alcohol involvement in AI/AN crime was found and AI/ANs who use alcohol were more likely to be a crime victim or perpetrator. The report also examined research on policy responses to the problem of drug- and alcohol-involved crime among AI/ANs. With the exception of one policy, local alcohol prohibition, very little is known about the effects of criminal justice policy and specific initiatives aimed at reducing alcohol and drug related crime in AI/AN communities. The report presents and discusses a number of research approaches that have the potential to improve the understanding of legal and criminal justice responses to alcohol and drug related crime in AI/AN communities. Tables and references

Date Published: December 1, 2009