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Substance Abuse and Treatment of Adults on Probation, 1995


SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 1998             202/307-0784

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Almost half of the men
and women on probation in the United States were
under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at
the time of their criminal offense, the Justice
Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
reported today.

According to this first national survey of
individuals on probation, which BJS conducted in
1995, half of all probationers said they had been
involved in a domestic dispute while under the
influence of either alcohol or drugs at some time
in their lives.  Asked if they had ever driven a
motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
or drugs, 64 percent of probationers said "yes." 
Thirty-five percent of all probationers responded
"yes" when asked if they had ever consumed as much
as a fifth of a gallon of alcohol in one day
(equivalent to 20 drinks of liquor, three six-packs 
of beer or three bottles of wine).

Forty percent of probationers were under the
influence of alcohol when they committed their
offense.  More than 20 percent were on probation
for driving under the influence of alcohol or
drugs.  Violent offenders were the most likely to
have used alcohol at the time of their offense 
(41 percent) and to report alcohol dependence 
(22 percent).

Almost two-thirds of probationers who were
under the influence of alcohol during their
offense had received treatment for alcohol abuse
while on probation.

Almost 70 percent of all probationers
reported past drug abuse, 32 percent said they
were using drugs during the month of their offense
and 14 percent were on drugs when they committed
the offense for which they were sentenced. 

Almost half of all probationers said they had
been tested for drug use while on their current
probation sentence.  This rose to 65 percent among
those who had used drugs during the month before
the offense and to 73 percent among those who said 
they committed their offense to obtain drug money.

Among all probationers, 67 percent said they
had used marijuana or hashish at least one time in
their lives, 31 percent had used crack or other
forms of cocaine, 25 percent had taken stimulants,
20 percent hallucinogens, 15 percent barbiturates
and 8 percent heroin or other opiates.

About 17 percent of all probationers reported
participating in a drug treatment program during
their sentence to probation, but these percentages
rose as the severity of their prior drug use
increased.  Among those probationers who reported
being under the influence of drugs when committing
their offense, 53 percent said they participated
in a drug treatment program.  However, 30 percent
had not been drug tested.     

The survey findings are based on personal
interviews held in probation offices of a
nationally representative sample of more than
2,000 adults under active supervision.  As of
December 31, 1996, the most recent data available,
there were almost 3.2 million adult U.S. residents
on probation, compared to the more than 1.6
million adults who were incarcerated. 

Probationers are criminal offenders whom
courts have sentenced to supervision in the
community. Probation is generally imposed on
offenders with few or no prior convictions or
offenders convicted of less serious offenses.

The special report, "Substance Abuse and
Treatment of Adults on Probation, 1995" 
(NCJ-166611) was written by BJS policy analyst
Christopher J. Mumola.  Single copies may be
obtained from the BJS fax-on-demand system by
dialing 301/519-5550, listening to the menu, and
selecting document number 102 or by calling the
BJS Clearinghouse at 1-800/732-3277.  BJS's home 
page address on the Internet is:  

Additional criminal justice materials can be
obtained from the Office of Justice Programs
homepage at:

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After hours contact:  
Stu Smith at 301/983-9354                
Date Published: March 22, 1998