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Substance Abuse and Crime, Linkages Between

Substance abuse is a widespread mental health concern in the United States. As of 2015, more than 20 million Americans over the age of 12 years met diagnostic criteria for substance abuse or dependence, and rates of substance abuse have risen since the 1990s. Furthermore, the prevalence rates of substance abuse are much higher among correctional populations, with a 75% lifetime prevalence of substance abuse among prison populations. The very high prevalence rate of substance abuse among criminal offenders highlights the strong link between substance abuse and crime. This entry describes the diagnostic conceptualizations of substance use disorders, then examines the relationship between substance use disorder (with a focus on alcohol and illicit drugs) and crime, the effect of substance use on legal outcomes, ...

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