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Violent crime and substance abuse: A medico-legal comparison between deceased users of anabolic androgenic steroids and abusers of illicit drugs
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Forensic Medicine.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Forensic Medicine.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Forensic Medicine.
2007 (English)In: Forensic Science International, ISSN 0379-0738, E-ISSN 1872-6283, Vol. 173, no 1, 57-63 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Several case reports and survey studies have indicated that abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) often leads to increased aggressiveness and feelings of hostility that may occasionally trigger violent behaviour. Other observations indicate that many users of AAS also abuse alcohol and/or various illegal substances. Since substance abuse is a well-known risk factor for violent behaviour, it could be that violence committed by AAS users might, at least in many cases, actually be caused by abuse of other drugs. In order to examine this possibility further here, the criminal histories (in terms of incidences of convictions) of deceased users of AAS with (AASpos-subst.pos) and without (AASpos-subst.neg) signs of abuse of other illegal substances were compared to the corresponding histories of deceased users of illicit substances testing negatively for AAS (subst.pos-AASneg) at the time of autopsy. The risk of being convicted for a crime against property was significantly higher in the subst.pos-AASneg group than in either the AASpos-subst.neg or AASpos-subst.pos groups (RR=0.048 versus 0.408). At the same time, the risk of being convicted for a crime of violence was at least as high for the two AAS-positive groups as for the AAS-negative group. Furthermore, when compared with the first 3 years after the first criminal conviction, a pronounced increase in the proportion of incidence of violent crimes and a marked reduction in the proportion of incidence of crime against property was observed during the 3-year period immediately preceding death only among the AASpos-subst.neg subjects. In conclusion, the incidence of violent crime among users of AAS without signs of other drug abuse was comparable to the corresponding incidences for drug addicts without AAS use. This observation suggests that the violent criminality observed among AAS users is not confounded in any systematic fashion by abuse of other drugs. The findings also indicate that use of AAS in certain predisposed individuals might cause a high rate of violent crimes, especially if the use of AAS is combined with the use of other illegal substances.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 173, no 1, 57-63 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-96839DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2007.01.026ISI: 000250193300008PubMedID: 17337333OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-96839DiVA: diva2:171548
Available from: 2008-03-14 Created: 2008-03-14 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Anabolic Androgenic Steroids and Criminality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Anabolic Androgenic Steroids and Criminality
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) have been associated with adverse psychiatric effects, aggression and violent behaviour. The use of them has spread to a larger subpopulation, and the use has been connected to different risk behaviours, such as use of other illicit substances and carrying a gun. Case reports tell about a connection between AAS use and violent crimes, including homicide. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the proposed connection between AAS and crime, focusing on violent crimes, and to inquire into whether this proposed connection between AAS and criminality is affected by other risk factors for criminal behaviour.

The first two studies of this thesis investigated the registered criminality of individuals testing positively for AAS, with individuals testing negatively serving as control groups. In the two last studies individuals at a clinic for substance abuse treatment (Paper III) and in a prison (Paper IV) were asked about their use of AAS, and their history was assessed using the Addiction Severity Index.

The main finding of Paper I was the development of criminal patterns over time, with a clear increase of the proportion of violent crimes and weapons offences seen only among the pure AAS users. In Paper II an increased risk for weapons offences among AAS users was reported. In Paper III an increased risk of having been prosecuted for violent crimes and of having been physically abused was seen among the AAS users. In Paper IV, the main finding was the close resemblance of users and non users.

In summary, this thesis have concluded that the violence previously reported as connected to use of AAS can, to a large extent, be accounted for by other risk factors. There seems, however, to be a connection between use of AAS and a heavy, more planned form of criminality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2008. 47 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 318
Keyword
Psychiatry, Anabolic steroids, Violence, Crime, Substance abuse, Psykiatri
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8508 (URN)978-91-554-7118-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-04-04, Hörsalen, ing. D1, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 17, Uppsala, 09:15
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-03-14 Created: 2008-03-14Bibliographically approved

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