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Self-Reported Alcohol and Drug Problems Among Internal Medicine Outpatients: Relationships With Criminal Behavior

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2011;13(6):doi:10.4088/PCC.11m01214
10.4088/PCC.11m01214

ABSTRACT

Objective: Previous research indicates relationships between alcohol/substance misuse and criminal behavior, but past studies have restricted investigations to atypical samples and/or utilized limited assessments of illegal behavior. In the present study, we explored relationships between alcohol/drug problems and charges for 27 criminal behaviors in a primary care sample.

Method: Participants were a cross-sectional sample of 376 consecutive men and women, aged 18 years or older, being seen for nonemergent medical care at an outpatient internal medicine clinic staffed predominantly by residents and located in a midsized, midwestern city in October 2010. Using a self-report survey methodology, we examined relationships between alcohol and drug problems (“Have you ever had a problem with alcohol?” and “Have you ever had a problem with drugs?”) and 27 illegal behaviors as delineated by the categories used by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Results: Men with alcohol or drug problems statistically exhibited the greatest number of charges for different forms of illegal behavior (P < .001). These charges were directly related to alcohol/drug misuse (eg, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) and otherwise (eg, aggravated assault, simple assault, gambling, larceny-theft).

Conclusions: In primary care settings, men with alcohol/drug problems may also have a history of illegal behaviors—a finding that is relevant in terms of social and legal implications.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2011;13(6):doi:10.4088/PCC.11m01214

Submitted: May 9, 2011; accepted June 27, 2011.

Published online: December 29, 2011.

Corresponding author: Randy A. Sansone, MD, Sycamore Primary Care Center, 2115 Leiter Rd, Miamisburg, Ohio, 45342 (Randy.sansone@khnetwork.org).