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[Addiction and recidivism in forensic psychiatry]

E F J M Brand, T P C Lucker, A A van den Hurk
Tijdschrift Voor Psychiatrie 2009, 51 (11): 813-20
19904706

BACKGROUND: The prevalence of addiction in forensic psychiatric patients (adolescents and adults) is unknown. Published figures are nearly always based on estimates or on old or select samples.

AIM: To determine the importance of addiction as a risk factor for recidivism in forensic psychiatric patients in the Netherlands and to determine the prevalence of addiction in this group and the prevalence of drug intoxication in group-members at the time they committed the offence.

METHOD: We analysed one database relating to forensic psychiatric adolescents and two sets of data relating to tbs-patients (tbs='detained at her Majesty's pleasure').

RESULTS: The prevalence of addiction among forensic psychiatric patients could only be given approximately, but it was certainly high (more than 60%). Substance abuse or addiction often played a major role (in more than 30% of cases) at the time the offence was committed for which the detention order was issued.

CONCLUSION: Because substance abuse often played a role in the delinquent behaviour that led to the detention order, it may also be a risk factor for recidivism. More research is needed so that we can increase our knowledge about the most effective ways of treating substance abuse.

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