Drugs, Crime and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Among Juvenile Offenders

Susan M. Crimmins, California State University/N.D.R.I.
Sean Cleary, George Washington Univ. Medical Ctr.
Henry H. Brownstein, National Institute of Justice

The importance of recognizing substance misuse, criminality, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as co-existing problems has been demonstrated empirically as essential in developing appropriate treatment intervention services. Despite research that indicates that bivariate relationships exist between substance misuse and criminial activity and PTSD, minimal research has been conducted on the extent of these conditions among juvenile offenders. This paper will report on substance misuse, criminal activities and PTSD among 427 juvenile offenders between the ages of 13 and 19, who were remanded to the care and custody of Department of Juvenile Justice in Maryland for violent and non-violent crimes. Results wll be analyzed in regard to the prior traumatic experiences of these youth. Data are derived from a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded study examining the relationships among drugs and violence with juvenile offenders. Implications for acknowledging and addressing PTSD in residential settings for juveniles will be highlighted for discussion.

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Updated 05/20/2006