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Implications of the Drug Use Forecasting Data for TASC Programs: Female Arrestees

NCJ Number
Date Published
40 pages
In focusing on female offenders who use drugs, this study notes that the number of women incarcerated in State and Federal prisons rose by 41 percent between 1985 and 1988.
A 1988 report released by the National Institute of Justice indicated that women arrestees are more likely than men to test positive for drugs. To study the treatment implications of DUF (Drug Use Forecasting) data for TASC (Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime) programs, data were obtained in 1988 and 1989 from DUF interviews and urinalyses of 745 women in Birmingham, Chicago, Phoenix, and Portland. It was found that many addicted females engage in various offenses including drug sale and possession, forgery, shoplifting, and larceny. Women are also motivated to commit crimes to obtain at least partial support for their addictions. With respect to specific drug use, it appears that women abuse various drugs and have generally been initiated into the "drug world" by their addicted male partners. While men may experiment with a drug before becoming addicted, women may be immediately inducted into the addiction subculture. Thus, women who do try drugs, particularly heroin, are more likely than men to develop an addiction. Older white females primarily commit misdemeanor crimes and abuse opiates, while younger, predominantly single, minority women use cocaine and tend to commit felonies. Women with the most intense drug use tend to commit misdemeanor crimes. Most female offenders who use drugs are either single, separated, or divorced; are unemployed; and may have primary responsibility for children. As with male arrestees, they have multiple needs outside of drug abuse treatment such as education, job training, and child care. Urinalyses, self-report data, and comparative drug use analyses suggest several treatment implications for TASC programs. Data show that cocaine use is the most widespread problem in female arrestees and that women are in greater danger of contracting AIDS than men. Brief descriptions of the DUF project and TASC programs are included. 37 references, 7 tables, and 10 figures