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May 1974

Drug Involvement in Criminal Assaults by Adolescents

Author Affiliations

Palo Alto, Calif
From the Department of Psychiatry, Stanford Medical School and Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital, Palo Alto, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;30(5):685-689. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760110097012

Fifty male, adolescent, assaultive offenders incarcerated in California were compared for drug use and criminal behavior with 80 nonassaultive offenders of similar background by utilizing semistructured interviews and a review of official records.

In 36 of the 56 assaults resulting in tissue damage, the assailant described himself as under the influence of a drug at the time of the offense. Alcohol or secobarbital, alone or in combination with other drugs, were reported in 31 of the 36 drug-related assaults including seven assaults that resulted in the death of the victim. Marihuana used alone or with other drugs was associated with six assaults; amphetamine was linked with two offenses.

The study subjects overwhelmingly selected secobarbital as the drug most likely to enhance assaultive tendencies.