Introduction: Many studies indicate the high prevalence of juvenile substance abuse. There is increasingly more dual diagnosis and mental illnesses in adolescents and many juvenile offenses are related to drug abuse.
Method: This is a descriptive study about the relationship between drug abuse and clinical, demographic and criminal characteristics in a sample of 144 youths seen in the Therapeutic Juvenile Justice Unit (UTJJ) of the Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Deu.
Results: A total of 65.3% of the sample had a disorder on Axis I, 22.2% of which were related with the psychotic spectrum and 18.1% ADHD. Personality disorder occurred in 42.4%, the most frequent ones being antisocial disorder (16%), and borderline personality disorder (6.9%). Of the sample, 78.5% were drug consumers and 51.4% of the total only consumed 1 substance. There is a tendency among psychotic teenagers to consume cannabis and ADHD patients to consume cannabis and cocaine. A significant relationship is found between nationality and inhalants drugs, social and economic level and sedative drugs and alcohol, and parental death and alcohol (p<0.05-0.005).
Conclusions: The level of drug use/abuse in juvenile justice is very high. Although there is no evidence about the relationship between the substance they consume and the profile of the young offender, some tendencies are observed.