Substance use and crime: Characteristics of victim and offender roles in a longitudinal study of patients entering substance use treatment
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AbstractIn substance using populations, there is a high prevalence of both criminal offending and criminal victimization. The victim and offender roles overlap to a large extent. The overall aim of this thesis was to explore the extent of criminal offending and victimization among substance users in Norway, and the associated factors or characteristics. Baseline and one year follow-up data were collected through face-to-face structured interviews as part of the NorComt-study; a multi-site, observational study of 548 substance users entering treatment. We found that nearly two thirds had committed crime in the months before treatment. In the time following treatment start, there were major reductions in crime. After one year, less than one fifth reported current criminal activity. For participants who continued to commit crime, there was a significant reduction in the number of criminal acts they committed. Before treatment, we found that stimulant use, polysubstance use, social network, self-control and younger age were associated with committed crime. Consistently, one year later, those that had no use of stimulants, those who left a substance using social network and those who increased their self-control were also more likely to have ceased their criminal activity. Further, over half of the patients had experienced recent victimization before treatment start and many of these had themselves committed crime in the same time-period. Unstable housing, markers for more severe substance use and poor mental health were associated with victimization. In conclusion, we recommend targeted interventions related to self-control and social network to reduce criminal offending, while simultaneously underlining the potential of improving treatment outcomes for this patient group by including their victimization experiences in treatment.
List of papers
|Paper I: Skjærvø, I., Skurtveit, S., Clausen, T. & Bukten, A. (2017). Substance use pattern, selfcontrol and social network are associated with crime in a substance‐using population. Drug and Alcohol Review. (2):245‐52. DOI: 10.1111/dar.12406. The article is not included in the thesis. The accepted version is available in DUO: http://urn.nb.no/URN:NBN:no-64427|
|Paper II: Skjærvø, I., Clausen, T., Skurtveit, S., Abel, K.F. & Bukten, A. (2018). Similarities and differences in victimization risk factors for nonoffending and offending substance users. Victims & Offenders, 13:4, 526-541, DOI: 10.1080/15564886.2017.1383332. The article is not included in the thesis. The accepted version is available in DUO: http://urn.nb.no/URN:NBN:no-64428|
|Paper III: Skjærvø, I., Bukten, A., Skurtveit, S. & Clausen, T. (submitted). Ceased crime following substance use treatment co‐occurs with positive changes in social network and selfcontrol. To be published. The paper is not available in DUO awaiting publishing.|