Alcohol and drug misuse as a biosocial source of crime

Authored by: Christopher P. Salas-Wright , Jelena Todic

The Routledge International Handbook of Biosocial Criminology

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415722131
eBook ISBN: 9781315858449
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936749


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The use and abuse of licit and illicit substances have far-reaching implications for the health and well-being of individuals and their communities. Worldwide, substantial proportions of the global burden of disease—that is, the years of life lost due to poor health and premature mortality—are associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs, with particularly large effects observed among socioeconomically marginalized populations (Rehm et al., 2006, 2009). In the United States, the estimated economic costs related to substance-use disorders total more than half a trillion dollars per year due to losses in productivity and social expenditures related to healthcare, drug enforcement, incarceration, and crime (National Drug Intelligence Center, 2011; National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2012). An extensive body of literature has documented the links between substance misuse and the involvement of individuals in various manifestations of violent, antisocial, and criminal behavior (Krug et al., 2002; Bennett et al., 2008). Building upon this research, the purpose of this chapter is to highlight the manifold ways in which biosocial factors, substance misuse, and criminal behavior interrelate.

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