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Police On-Duty Drug Use: A Theoretical and Descriptive Examination

NCJ Number
American Journal of Police Volume: 7 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1988) Pages: 1-28
P B Kraska; V E Kappeler
Date Published
28 pages
The on-duty use of illegal drugs by police officers has received little attention in criminal justice studies. This study provides a theoretical framework and a quantitative description, derived from qualitative methods, of police on-duty illegal drug use.
The problem is first examined within a theoretical context discussing: 1) societal and occupational drug use; 2) the seriousness of police engaging in this behavior; 3) the objective and subjective structural factors that make the police particularly vulnerable; and 4) a review of the research in this area. The theoretical framework stresses the integration of objective/quantitative with the subjective/qualitative theoretical orientations and research methodologies. From this framework, a quantitative/qualitative descriptive account of on-the-job marijuana and non-prescription drug use by police officers in a specific department located in the southern United States is presented. A few of the findings include: a high incidence of drug use among the officers; pre-employment and off-duty use indicating on-the-job use; most of the drug-using officers having between 4 and 9 years of experience on the force; and most of the drug-using officers having exemplary performance records. (Author abstract)