Research Article

Do drug offences matter?

Br Med J 1978; 2 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.2.6131.185 (Published 15 July 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;2:185
  1. A M Gordon

    Abstract

    Drug offences in addicts are often thought to indicate little more than continued dependency. In a four-year follow-up study of 60 men attending a drug clinic a history of repeated convictions for drug offences was found to be strongly related to patterns of delinquency. The following variables were associated with a history of repeated drug offences: a higher conviction rate for "non-drug" offences; younger age at first conviction; conviction preceding drug use; convictions for offences of sex and violence; longer prison sentences; and regular narcotic use and continued dependency at follow-up. Receiving a clinic prescription was not associated with a lower incidence of drug offences. Repeated drug offences identified a subgroup of drug users who were characterised by extensive sociopathic behaviour. Such offences should not be dismissed as an unavoidable, unimportant part of addiction.