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Substance abuse among sex offenders


A total of 461 male sex offenders were compared on their histories of alcohol and street drug use. The Drug Use Survey, Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST), and Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST) were examined to provide measures of 1) type and frequency of substance use, 2) mood on alcohol and drugs, and 3) alcoholism and drug abuse. Most sex offenders had used alcohol and they had tried a wide range of street drugs. Over half of the sample had tried at least one street drug, including minor tranquilizers, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, narcotics, phencyclidine, hallucinogens, and solvents. Marijuana was used most. Over one half of the sex offenders were alcoholics, based on the MAST. Results of the DAST suggested that less than a fifth of the sample had a drug abuse problem at the time of examination. Although the majority experienced positive affect in conjunction with alcohol and drug use, between one fifth and one half experienced depressed affect. Use of alcohol and amphetamines were most often associated with hostile feelings. Amphetamine and hallucinogen use were associated most with paranoia. Respondents felt most ‘out of control’ with cocaine and hallucinogens. Results are discussed in terms of the role of substance abuse and violence in sex offences.

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Langevin, R., Lang, R.A. Substance abuse among sex offenders. Annals of Sex Research 3, 397–424 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00850442

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  • Cocaine
  • Drug Abuse
  • Amphetamine
  • Positive Affect
  • Barbiturate