• Multiple substance users reported more arrests than single substance users.
• Multiple substance users were more likely to report family disfunction.
• Multiple substance users did not differ in offense categories from single substance users.
Historically, research has demonstrated that multiple substance use, compared to single substance use, poses additional challenges for treatment throughout the continuum of care including referrals, interventions, and relapse prevention. However, it appears that this pattern cannot be easily generalized to all criminal justice settings as evidenced by mixed findings across criminal justice samples. The purpose of the current study is to investigate possible differences in legal and substance-related outcomes between multiple substance users and single substance users within a community corrections sample. Structured clinical interviews were conducted to divide 531 individuals under community corrections supervision into three groups including multiple substance users, single substance users, and non-substance users. Results indicated that while multiple substance users were arrested more frequently and had more problems with family members, there were no differences compared to their single substance using counterparts in terms of depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, or types of offense. These findings contrast with previous research on samples outside of community corrections suggesting that multiple substance use requires tailored interventions with consideration to context of their use. Discussion includes limitations to generalizability and assessment of substance use as well as implications for treatment and future research.
C. Brendan Clark, Jeffrey A. Swails, Karen A. Akao, Heidi M. Pontinen, Karen L. Cropsey
Addictive Behaviors, Volume 81, June 2018