04/30/2002

New National Study Links Crime Rates to Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Associated Press

CHARLOTTETOWN (CP) - A national study on substance abuse and crime in Canada has confirmed what many have long suspected: booze and drugs fuel criminal activity across the country.

Federal Solicitor General Lawrence MacAulay released the results Tuesday of a three-year, statistical study into the cause and effect of substance abuse on Canadian crime rates.

The study found that alcohol is more often associated with violent crimes such as murder and assault, while illegal drugs were more commonly linked to break-ins and robberies.

A majority of offenders, 54 per cent, told researchers they were under the influence of either alcohol or drugs when they committed their most serious crimes.

"This report provides a major insight into the relationship between crime and substance abuse and will go a long way in determining how we approach this important issue," MacAulay said.

The study, conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, is based on interviews with roughly 10,000 male and female prisoners in provincial and federal institutions. It includes those recently arrested, as well as prisoners who have been in prison for several years.

While the results aren't news to people in the criminal justice system who daily see the results of substance abuse in the courts, MacAulay said the report provides hard, statistical data to confirm the influence of alcohol and drugs.

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