Addiction and crime: The importance of asymmetry in offending and the life-course

Michael G. Vaughn, Christopher P. Salas-Wright, Jennifer M. Reingle-Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The intersection of addiction and crime is pervasive. Not only is there a high prevalence of substance use and substance use disorders among criminal justice populations that is substantially higher than in the general population, but also offenders with substance use disorders are more likely to be rearrested. The authors believe there are several broad points that addiction researchers and criminologists have come to understand that are important to bring together. In this commentary, the asymmetrical nature of crime (i.e., a small subset account for the lion's share of offending) and the value of a developmentally sensitive life-course approach to inform criminal behavior are elucidated and discussed. These 2 themes are intertwined. High-impact offenders have extensive drug use histories and need intervention (policy or individual-level), but the form and content and ultimately the effectiveness of the intervention may depend on what period in the life-course the intervention is to be implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-217
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Addictive Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, © 2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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