U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Juvenile Crime and Drug Abuse: A Prospective Study of High Risk Youth

NCJ Number
Journal of Addictive Diseases Volume: 11 Issue: 2 Dated: (1991) Pages: 5-31
Date Published
27 pages
This article presents the methodology and findings from an ongoing, longitudinal study of juvenile detainees that focused on the relationship between their drug use and delinquency/crime.

Three hundred and ninety-nine youths were first interviewed in 1986/87, and 41 percent were found to be urine positive for recent drug use at the time of detention. The researchers reinterviewed 305 of the youths approximately 1 year later. These interviews found that their drug use and delinquency persisted and in some cases increased over time. Based on the study to date, the authors draw policy implications for dealing with troubled youths. The findings suggest that resources should be used in assessing and providing needed services to youths and their families at first point of contact with the juvenile justice system. Services provided at this point are more likely to be effective and cost-efficient. Another implication of the findings pertains to quality screening-assessment; interviewing and urine testing of youthful detainees for drug use at point of entry into secure detention is a promising method for screening youngsters with histories of delinquent behavior. Data also suggest that many youths needed serious treatment intervention, especially to address their substance-use difficulties. Continuity of services is also important in treating troubled youths, since length of treatment is important for dealing with chronic problem behaviors. 1 table, 1 figure, and 52 references

Date Published: January 1, 1991