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Prevalence and nature of criminal offending in a national sample of veterans in VA substance use treatment prior to the Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom conflicts.

Weaver CM, Trafton JA, Kimerling R, Timko C, Moos R. Prevalence and nature of criminal offending in a national sample of veterans in VA substance use treatment prior to the Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom conflicts. Psychological Services. 2013 Feb 1; 10(1):54-65.

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Abstract:

This study evaluated the prevalence and types of criminal arrest among 99,512 male veterans in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment across 150 VA facilities from 1998 to 2001. Participants were assessed with the Addiction Severity Index (ASI), which includes detailed information about lifetime criminal activity. A majority of the patients (58.2%) had three or more previous arrests, with 46.0% reporting one or more criminal convictions. Criminal arrests were frequent and varied. A majority of patients (69.3%) had at least one arrest that was not due to drug possession, drug sale, or intoxication. Nearly 24% reported at least one arrest for a violent crime. Patterns of arrest for specific crimes varied across SUD diagnostic categories. Screening for specific types of offending is informative and viable. Existing VA SUD treatment is a potentially underrecognized point of intervention for justice involvement among veterans.





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