Drug use history and criminal behavior among 133 incarcerated men

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1997 Aug;23(3):413-9. doi: 10.3109/00952999709016886.


The present study investigated the relationship between crime and substance abuse in a sample of 133 consecutively evaluated male prisoners. Using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R, we assessed the prevalence of various forms of substance abuse in this population and attempted to judge whether substance abuse played a role in the index crime which has led to the present incarceration. In addition, we assessed whether there was a relationship between the nature of substance dependence and the type of crime committed, whether sexual, violent, or non-violent. Among the 133 prisoners, 95% obtained a diagnosis of dependence on one or more substances. Fifty-eight percent of the inmates reported that they were acutely intoxicated with one or more substances at the time they committed the index crime and an additional 6% were withdrawing from a substance at the time of the crime. There was no significant correlation between the type of substance abuse diagnosis and the type of crime committed. Similarly, there was no significant correlation between the number of individuals who reported they were intoxicated at the time of the offense and the type of crime committed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Crime / psychology
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Middle Aged
  • Prisoners / psychology
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychotropic Drugs*
  • Sex Offenses / psychology
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Violence / psychology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data


  • Illicit Drugs
  • Psychotropic Drugs