Juvenile drug traffickers: Characterization and substance use patterns

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Colleen R. Mclaughlin
Benhamin W. Smith
Scott M. Reiner
Dennis E. Waite
A. Wayde Glover


Drug Trafficking has become one of the dominant issues facing the criminal justice system. Juveniles involves in drug trafficking have been reported to be far more likely to be seriously immersed in substance abuse and delinquent behavior than non-sellers. The primary aim of the present study was to examine the substance use patterns of juveniles incarcerated for drug trafficking offenses in the Common wealth of Virginia (N= 240) . A second goal of the study was to characterized juvenile drug traffickers based upon additional information pertaining to their delinquent, social, psychological, educational and medical histories. For this purpose, a demographic comparison group was generated (N=433). The results indicated that the most frequently sold substance was cocaine (93%0, either powdered or crack, while alcohol and marijuana were the drugs most often used by the juvenile drug traffickers, the juvenile drug traffickers were associated with lower levels of aggressively, violence and delinquency when competed to other incarcerated juveniles form their community. In addition, the juvenile drug traffickers were characterized by higher rating in several areas which included social and psychological functioning. Areas that did not correlate well with drug trafficking were physical health, intellectual functioning and academic achievement. The results of this study indicated that juvenile drug traffickers tend not to use the drugs that they sell, and generally present as higher functioning and better adjusted in almost every area evaluates, when compared to their incarcerated delinquent peers.

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