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NCJ Number: 99663 Find in a Library
Title: Causality, Context, and Contingency - Relationships Between Drug Abuse and Delinquency
Journal: Contemporary Drug Problems  Volume:12  Issue:3  Dated:(Fall 1985)  Pages:351-373
Author(s): J K Watters; C Reinarman; J Fagan
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 23
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews the research literature on the drug-delinquency relationship to identify difficulties in such research and propose research necessary to build a sound empirical base for drug and crime control policies.
Abstract: Three common perspectives of the drug-crime association are that (1) drugs cause crime, (2) crime causes drug abuse, and (3) underlying factors cause both drug abuse and crime. A review of relevant literature does not show an unequivocal empirical base for any of these perspectives. To date, the most that researchers can say is that drug abuse may contribute to, may positively correlate with, or may be a determinant of crime. Researchers are generally unwilling to assert a causal connection. Research on the drug-crime nexus is complicated by the fact that a thorough understanding of both drug-abusing and criminal behaviors requires an analysis of the setting, social context, and motivation of the behaviors. Further, research methodology has been plagued by sampling and measurement dilemmas. Conceptual and methodological limitations in such research can be addressed by devising study samples that include violent offenders with a substantial incidence of drug abuse. Subjects should also be emerging from adolescence into early adulthood, when the drug-crime relationship is likely to be most prominent and not confounded by career length. Multicity samples would overcome the bias of culture-specific drug use patterns. Finally, dependent variables should contain a range of specific behavior indicators and include both official and self-reported crime measures. Ninety-six references are listed.
Index Term(s): Drug Related Crime; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile drug use; Literature reviews; Research methods; Violent juvenile offenders
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