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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 73049 Find in a Library
Title: Narcotic Use in an Inmate Population at Three Points in Time
Journal: American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse  Volume:3  Issue:3  Dated:(1976)  Pages:375-386
Author(s): U F Bass; V W Brock; R L DuPont
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Studies on new jail admissions conducted in 1969, 1971, and 1973 indicated a sharp decrease in heroin use among male inmates in the District of Columbia in 1973.
Abstract: Newly admitted inmates to the Washington, D.C., Jail were originally surveyed during 1969; followups were conducted 16 months later in 1971 and 25 months later in 1973. In 1969, urine specimens were obtained from 57 percent of 225 inmates interviewed; 89 percent of new inmates interviewed in 1971 gave urine specimens; and in 1973, of the 181 newly admitted inmates, 91 percent gave urine specimens. The three surveys permitted a comparison of changes in patterns or rates of drug use as well as changes in the characteristics of the addict-inmates themselves. In the 1969 study, 45 percent reported to be addicted to heroin; in 1971, 47 percent reported addiction; and only 22 percent reported addiction in 1973. Only 38 percent of the addict-inmates in 1969 reported ever receiving treatment for their addiction, while 62 percent in 1971 and 64 percent in 1973 reported receiving treatment. The diminution over time of heroin use in D.C. corresponded with declines in the reported number of heroin overdose deaths, positive urinalyses for the metabolites of heroin among clients entering treatment, opiate charges made by D.C. Police, and the number of heroin seizures. Amphetamines and related stimulants appeared to be on the rise, while cocaine and heroin were decreasing. Data from the surveys also show more violent crimes in 1973 than in 1971 and 1969, although amphetamine abuse was not found to be associated with violent behavior. Altogether, data show three factors to be critical in curbing the heroin 'epidemic' in the District of Columbia: (1) the availability of treatment, which reduced the addicts' dependence on heroin; (2) the community attitude towards heroin use, which allowed for the establishment of community-based treatment centers and telecommunications assistance in regards to 'busting' the pusher; and (3) the vigorous local, national, and international law enforcement efforts, which reduced the availability of heroin. Five tables and 10 references are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): District of Columbia; Drug dependence; Heroin; Inmates; Male offenders
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