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Criminal Neglect: Substance Abuse, Juvenile Justice and the Children Left Behind

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2004
190 pages
This report presents findings from an analysis conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), based on 2000 data, on the impact of substance abuse on juvenile offenders and juvenile justice systems’ across the Nation handling of these offenders.
This report is the result of a 5 year analysis with findings based on 2000 data and sketching a bleak portrait of juvenile justice systems overwhelmed by drug and alcohol abusing and addicted juveniles and driving up juvenile justice caseloads. CASA examined 2000 juvenile court statistics and conducted an analysis of the 2000 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM) dataset. CASA also analyzed juvenile arrest data from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Juvenile Arrests 2000 report and analyzed the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2000 data, 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, and the 1996 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Highlights of the findings include: (1) 78.4 percent of the 2.4 million juvenile arrests in 2000 involved children and teens who were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, tested positive for drugs, were arrested for committing an alcohol or drug offense, and reported having substance abuse problems; (2) of the 53.9 percent of juvenile arrestees testing positive for drugs at the time of their arrest, 92.2 percent tested positive for marijuana; (3) drug and alcohol abuse were implicated in all types of juvenile crime; (4) the number of drug law violation cases referred to juvenile courts increased at more than 12 and a half times the rate of the total number of cases referred to juvenile courts from 65,400 cases in 1991 to 194,200 cases in 2000; and (5) the more often juveniles are arrested, the likelier they are to drink and use drugs. The report also discusses the costs and benefits of alternative strategies of prevention, early intervention, assessment and treatment, and recommendations are presented and discussed which entail a top-to-bottom overhaul of the way the Nation treats juvenile offenders. Glossary, appendixes A-G, and references