Revolving roles in drug-related crime: The cost of chronic drug users as victims and perpetrators

Michael T. French, Kathryn E. McCollister, Pierre Kébreau Alexandre, Dale D. Chitwood, Clyde B. McCoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Numerous studies have established a strong connection between the use of illicit drugs and the commission of other illegal activities, including both predatory and property crimes. No study, however, has examined the cost of crimes associated with drug users both as victims and as perpetrators. In the present study, recent data were analyzed from a targeted sample of chronic drug users (CDUs) and a matched sample of non-drug users (NDUs) in Miami-Dade County, Florida, to estimate the incremental cost of crime associated with CDU. Two separate models were employed to estimate (1) the probability of being a victim or a perpetrator of crime and (2) the cost of crime for both situations. The cost measures were transformed to reduce the influence of extreme outliers, and a smearing technique was used to compare the cost of crime for CDUs relative to NDUs. The findings illustrate that criminal activity among CDUs is circular, extensive, and costly. Implications for law enforcement, criminal justice policy, and substance abuse treatment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-241
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Quantitative Criminology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • chronic drug users
  • cost of crime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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