The Day-to-Day Criminality of Heroin Addicts in Baltimore—A Study in the Continuity of Offence Rates

  • John C. Ball
  • John W. Shaffer
  • David N. Nurco
Part of the The Plenum Series in Crime and Justice book series (PSIC)


It has now been established that heroin addiction in the contemporary United States is associated with exceedingly high crime rates [1–10]. Indeed, recent studies [11,12] have reported that heroin addicts are frequently involved in criminal behavior on a daily basis and that, consequently, they commit hundreds or thousands of offences per individual during their addiction careers. Furthermore, it is becoming apparent that the scope and magnitude of the crime problem associated with opiate addiction is not only due to the frequency with which addicts commit ‘victimless’ crimes and lesser offences, but that many of their offences are serious and destructive. Thus, Chaiken and Chaiken [13] found in their study of incarcerated criminals in three states that violent predators (i.e. serious and frequent offenders) had ‘characteristic histories of drug use’. Although heroin was not the only drug associated with high rates of serious offences, they reported that most violent predators “began using several types of ‘hard’ drugs, and using them heavily, as juveniles. Indeed, their use of drugs and their criminal careers usually began at about the same time.” It may be said, then, that heroin addiction is clearly entwined in our national crime problem, and that this association is most evident when either persistent offenders or persistent drug abusers are studied.


Crime Rate Criminal Behavior Violent Offence Heroin Addict Drug Sale 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Ball
  • John W. Shaffer
  • David N. Nurco

There are no affiliations available

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