Australian Institute of Criminology

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Alcohol, drugs and crime : a study of juveniles in detention

Research and public policy series no. 67

Jeremy Prichard and Jason Payne
ISBN 0 642 53891 3 ISSN 1326-6004
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, 2005


The Australian Institute of Criminology has undertaken research into the offending and drug use careers of adult males, females and juveniles incarcerated in Australian prisons and detention centres. The objective of the Drug Use Careers of Offenders (DUCO) project is to further understand the drug use and criminal histories of incarcerated offenders and to contribute to the empirical evidence on the link between drug use and crime. This monograph, the third and final instalment in the DUCO project, examines the offending and drug use histories of 371 young offenders incarcerated in juvenile detention centres across Australia. The study confirms that juveniles in detention have extensive offending and drug use histories, in terms of both violent and property crime, and regularly use alcohol, cannabis and, to a lesser extent, amphetamines. The study identifies various risk factors for drug use and offending and highlights the need for a targeted approach to combat abuse, neglect and family drug use earlier in a child's life, as well as to have effective programs that address issues such as drug use, housing needs, skills development, individual and family support for chronic young offenders.