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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2003 Jun;191(6):372-8.

Substance use, substance use disorders, and comorbidity patterns in a representative sample of incarcerated male Dutch adolescents.

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1
Youth Detention Center de Hartelborgt, Spijkenisse, The Netherlands.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of substance use and substance use disorders (SUDs) among incarcerated boys, and comorbidity patterns and the relationship between SUDs and violent offending and criminal recidivism. The presence of SUDs and other psychiatric disorders was assessed in a representative sample of 204 incarcerated boys aged 12 to 18 years using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC). Ninety-two percent had used alcohol, 86% had used cannabis, and 33% had used other substances. The 6-month prevalence of SUDs was 55%, and 22% reported polysubstance abuse or dependence. SUDs were positively associated with comorbid externalizing and psychotic disorders. Substance dependence was negatively associated with violent offending but not with criminal recidivism. These high prevalence rates call for more attention to diagnosis and management of SUDs among incarcerated male adolescents. The negative association between substance dependence and the violent nature of the index offense needs further investigation.

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