Just Another Analogous Behavior? Testing Links Between Theories of Crime and Injection Drug Using Practices

Sarah Henderson, University of Georgia

While some criminology theories focus on explaining specific crimes, other theories offer broader approaches often including explanations for behaviors that are analogous to crime. Within this body of research one of the more commonly used analogous behaviors has been drug and/or alcohol use, yet none have gone beyond volume of drug use to examine the continuum of drug using practices. Perhaps for those primarily interested in criminal behavior, health behavior may not seem relevant to criminology theory. However in light of the high percentage of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C rates related to injection drug use, the public health initiative harm reduction asserts that variation in injection behaviors are a critical element in need of explanation. Using data from the Cooperative AGreement for AIDS Community-Based Outreach/Intervention research Program 1992-1998, this research will test three theoretical concepts in criminological theory, self-control, cultural capital, and opportunity to examine their utility in explaining the variation in injection drug using practices. Preliminary analyses suggest that all else constant, volume of use is the strongest indicator of injection drug using practices.

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Updated 05/20/2006