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Original Article

Understanding the Developmental Relationship Between Drug Use and Crime: Are Drug Users the Best People to Ask?

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Pages 151-164 | Published online: 11 Jul 2009
 

Abstract

The study investigates developmental associations in the relationship between drug use and crime among 100 treatment-seeking opiate addicts. While 56% of the sample report having committed 2,785 acquisitive crimes in the previous month, there are strong developmental patterns. Those who have committed crimes before age 14 have earlier onset of tobacco, alcohol, cannabis and cocaine use and a lower first age of heroin problems. This relates to perceptions - those who believe drug use caused crime before the age of 14 have lower age of onset for tobacco and cocaine use and for heroin problems. The developmental patterns suggest strong associations between drug use and crime, but provide no support for a casual model in which drug use leads to crime.

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