Descriptive Examination of the Pre-Treatment Illegal Activities of a Nationwide Sample of Adolescent Substance Abuse Clients

Timothy W. Kinlock, Friends Research Institute, Inc.
Michael S. Gordon, Friends Research Institute, Inc.
Robert J. Battjes, Friends Research Institute, Inc.

While much is known about the criminal behavior patterns of general population youth, seriously delinquent, "street" adolescent substance abusers, poor urban youth, and incarcerated adolescents, little is known about the pre-treatment criminality of adolescent substance abuse treatment clients. This information is important because of substantial increases in the number of youth attending substance abuse treatment programs and because adolescents who use substances regularly are substantially more likely than non-users to be involved in non-drug illegal activity. This paper presents descriptive information on the lifetime, past year, and past 90 day patterns of criminal activity and justice system involvement of 1,596 adolescents admitted to 17 treatment programs in 10 locations throughout the United States. Implications for future research and treatment planning are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006