Substance Use Treatment for Offenders With Mental Disorders

Individuals with both a mental disorder (e.g., mental illness, personality disorder, or learning/developmental disorder) and substance use problems (ranging from abuse to dependence) are often described as having a dual diagnosis. Such individuals are common in secure forensic settings (e.g., prisons, hospitals), with estimates ranging from one third to two thirds of offenders with mental disorder (MDOs).

While not all MDOs may reach threshold for a diagnosis of substance dependence per se, the majority of individuals with a mental disorder who use drugs and alcohol can be argued to have noticeable consequences to their physical or mental health (e.g., HIV infection, increased rates of suicide, greater use of services, increased rates of relapse and readmission), their social functioning (e.g., increased homelessness, decreased compliance with treatment, poor ...

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