Benzodiazepine use of community-based violent offenders : a preliminary investigation

ALBRECHT, Bonnie, STAIGER, Petra K., BEST, David, HALL, Kate, NIELSEN, Suzanne, LUBMAN, Dan I. and MILLER, Peter (2016). Benzodiazepine use of community-based violent offenders : a preliminary investigation. Journal of Substance Use. (In Press)

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Link to published version:: 10.1080/14659891.2016.1195893


Objective: To explore the relationship between benzodiazepine use and violent crime in a sample of community-based offenders. Methods: Participants were recruited via drug diversion and treatment programs in Melbourne, Australia. Data regarding benzodiazepine and other substance use, mental health, personality characteristics, and crime involvement was collected through semi-structured interviews conducted in 2011. Participants (n = 82, 79.3% male) were 21-56 years old, predominantly Australian-born (89%), with 14.6% identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. Eligibility criteria were having been charged with a criminal offence in the previous six months and at least monthly benzodiazepine use. Group differences between violent (n = 11) and non-violent offenders were assessed via independent samples t-tests (two-tailed) and non-parametric tests. Results: Individuals charged with violent index offences were significantly more likely to use higher average doses of alprazolam (p = .040), and exhibit benzodiazepine dependence (p = .037) as well as report high levels of sensation seeking, prior violence, and the diagnoses of depression and personality disorder, than individuals charged with non-violent index offences. Conclusions: The findings suggest the existence of a complex dynamic between mental health and violent offending that may be influenced by benzodiazepine use, in particular alprazolam. A core implication of these preliminary findings includes attending to the interpersonal skills and adaptive coping resources of violent offenders. Key words: benzodiazepines, alprazolam, violence, impulsive behaviour, mental health

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Law and Criminology Research Group
Identification Number: 10.1080/14659891.2016.1195893
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2016 09:27
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2016 21:08

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