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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The author explores the associations between alcohol and drug use and crime. First, general theoretical models of the substance use–crime connection, including substance use causing crime, crime leading to substance use, and a common cause model, are presented. Next, the empirical research that examines situational and global associations between substance use and crime is reviewed, and this research is tied to the explanatory models. The review indicates that the substance-using/crime-committing population is heterogeneous and there are multiple paths that lead to substance use and crime. For some individuals, acute intoxication increases the risks of violent crime; for some, the need for expensive and addictive drugs increases the risks for income-generating crime; for some, exposure to drug cultures and the drug market increases all types of crime, especially violent crime; for some, the criminal lifestyle increases substance use; and, finally, for others, common underlying characteristics (e.g., family, personality, genetics, neighborhoods) increase the risks for both substance use and crime. The author concludes with a discussion of implications for treatment and prevention and suggestions for future research.

Keywords: criminal offending, victimization, crime-substance use relation, substance use, crime, developmental aspects

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