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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Youth Violence and Alcohol/Drug Abuse

The relationship between youth violence and substance abuse

Youth violence and substance abuse often occur together. The Pathways to Desistance study is an OJJDP-sponsored study that followed over 1,300 serious juvenile offenders from Philadelphia and Phoenix for a period of seven years after their conviction. Youth participating in the study were 14 to 17 years old at the time of their conviction and had been convicted of at least one serious crime involving violence, offense against property, or drugs. The sample was 84% male and 80 percent minority and over 40% were convicted of felony crimes against persons (such as murder, sexual assault, and robbery). Participants were extensively interviewed at the beginning of the study as well as several times during the seven years after enrollment in the study.

The overall purpose of the study was to increase understanding of the factors that contribute

to offenders either desisting from or continuing to engage in criminal activity. One key finding
to emerge is that serious/chronic offenders were much more likely than other offenders to
meet diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder. > > > > Read More