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Use of anabolic androgenic steroids in substance abusers arrested for crime
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.
2010 (English)In: Drug And Alcohol Dependence, ISSN 0376-8716, E-ISSN 1879-0046, Vol. 111, no 3, 222-226 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Use of anabolic androgenic steroids (AASs) has been associated with both violent crime and the use of illicit drugs. The scientific literature on polysubstance abuse as a confounder for AAS-related violence is sparse and ambiguous. With the intent of further investigating this issue, we have gathered data concerning drug abuse and AAS experience among substance abusers who have been arrested for a variety of crimes. METHODS: Data were collected from structured interviews with substance abusers (n=3597) apprehended at two remand prisons in Sweden from 2002 through 2008. Analyses concerned type of criminal act, primary drug used during the past year, and experience of AAS use. RESULTS: Those stating AAS experience (n=924, 20 women and 904 men) were more often apprehended for violent crimes (OR=1.65). This association remained significant after controlling for age and sex (OR=1.28). AAS users and non-users claimed similar primary substances of use during the past year, with the exception of benzodiazepine use, which was more common in the AAS group (OR=2.30), although this did not affect the frequency of violent crime. Among AAS-experienced participants, there was no difference in violent crime incidence between current users and former users. CONCLUSIONS: Study results suggest that AASs do not function as a proximal trigger for violence but still involve an increased risk for violence in users of illicit drugs. These findings also suggest that AAS use is highly overrepresented in women who commit crimes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 111, no 3, 222-226 p.
Keyword [en]
Anabolic androgenic steroids; Violent crime; Substance abuse
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-130376DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.04.020ISI: 000283969900006PubMedID: 20627426OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-130376DiVA: diva2:349450
Available from: 2010-09-07 Created: 2010-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Substance Use and Violence: Influence of Alcohol, Illicit Drugs and Anabolic Androgenic Steroids on Violent Crime and Self-directed Violence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Substance Use and Violence: Influence of Alcohol, Illicit Drugs and Anabolic Androgenic Steroids on Violent Crime and Self-directed Violence
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Interpersonal violence and suicide are major health concerns, leading to premature death, extensive human suffering and staggering monetary costs. Although violent behaviour has multiple causes, it is well known that acute substance intake and abuse increase the risks of both interpersonal and self-directed violence. This association is quite well established for alcohol, while a more ambiguous literature exists for other common drugs of abuse. For example, anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), synthetic analogues to the “male” sex hormone testosterone are suggested to elicit violent and aggressive behaviour. Two studies (I and III) in the present thesis addressed the association between AAS use and being suspected or convicted of a violent crime among remand prisoners and in a general population sample, respectively. Further, using the case-crossover design to control for confounders stable within individuals, I also investigated the triggering (short-term risk) effect of alcohol and drugs such as benzodiazepines and AAS, on violent crime (Study II). Finally, a fourth study (IV) based on a large national forensic sample of suicide completers (n=18,894) examined the risk of using a violent, more lethal, suicide method, when under acute influence of alcohol, central stimulants or cannabis.

The results of this thesis suggested that AAS use in itself is not a proximal risk factor for violent crime; the observed risk is probably due to the co-occurrence of abuse of other substances. Alcohol is a strong triggering risk factor for violent crime, constant across males and females as well as individuals with or without behavioral and psychiatric vulnerability. Intake of high doses of benzodiazepines is associated with an increased risk for violent crime. Cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of using the lethal suicide method of jumping from a height. I conclude that mapping substance abuse patterns may inform violence risk assessment and treatment planning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. 78 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 864
Keyword
Substance abuse, violent crime, violent suicide, anabolic androgenic steroids
National Category
Forensic Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-193301 (URN)978-91-554-8590-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-03-15, Fåhraeus, Rudbecklaboratoriet, Dag Hammarskjöldsväg 20, Uppsala, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-02-21 Created: 2013-01-30 Last updated: 2013-02-28Bibliographically approved

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Lundholm, LenaThiblin, Ingemar

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