Methamphetamine Arrests and Deprivation Cases: Correlational Trends and Qualitative Evidence

Kevin M. Thompson, North Dakota State University
Velmer S. Burton, Jr., North Dakota State University
David Brownfield, University of Toronto at Mississauga

ABSTRACT
This paper provides quantitative and qualitative evidence regarding the nexus between methamphetamine arrests in a state and the level of child deprivation cases. Methamphetamine activity was measured by examining arrest data and methamphetamine laboratory confiscation counts over time. Deprivation data was gathered from the state's social service counts during the same time period. The data show a relatively clear connection between methamphetamine arrests and deprivation cases. Qualitative interviews with social service investigators and law enforcement agents confirm the direct correspondence between these variables. Social service and juvenile court practices and caseloads are clearly impacted by methamphetamine use and have the potential to shift and strain resources markedly in these offices.

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Updated 05/20/2006