Volume 40, Issue 3 (May 1995)

    Does Drug Abuse Lead to Criminal Behavior? An Analysis Based on Criminal Registers of 117 Drug-Related Deaths, Examined in 1992 at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Vienna, Austria

    (Received 11 July 1994; accepted 14 October 1994)

    CODEN: JFSOAD

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    Abstract

    That there is a link between drug abuse and criminal behavior has been established. However, explaining the nature of this relationship has proven difficult. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the traditional view that drug abuse leads to future criminal behavior holds true in case of the drug-related deaths examined in 1992 at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Vienna, Austria. For this purpose postmortem reports and criminal registers of 117 drug-related deaths were analyzed. A total of 43% of the examined sample had no criminal register. Regarding age at time of death there was no difference between those with or without a criminal register. A total of 57% had at least one conviction. A minority committed about one third of offenses. Property offenses were the most frequent type. Those who started their criminal history with a property offense were younger at time of first conviction and committed more offenses during their life. In summary, the traditional view that drug abuse leads to future criminal behavior does not seem to hold true in case of the drug-related deaths examined in 1992 at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Vienna, Austria. The results of this retrospective study speak in favor of a view that drug abuse may be a part of contemporary delinquent behavior, rather than the cause of criminality.


    Author Information:

    Bönsch, A
    University Assistant and Research Assistant, Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Vienna,

    Schneider, B
    University Assistant, Institute of Medical Statistics and Documentation, University of Vienna,

    Risser, D
    University Assistant and Research Assistant, Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Vienna,


    Stock #: JFS13790J

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS13790J

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    Title Does Drug Abuse Lead to Criminal Behavior? An Analysis Based on Criminal Registers of 117 Drug-Related Deaths, Examined in 1992 at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Vienna, Austria
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30