Alcohol and Drug Use Disorders, Involvement in the Drug Trade, and Mortality: A Longitudinal Study of Delinquent Youth

Jessica Jakubowski, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Linda A Teplin, Northwestern University
Leah J Welty, Northwestern University

Delinquent youth have a greater risk of mortality than adolescents in the general population. Drug dealing and substance use disorders may be important risk factors for mortality among teens. We use data from the Northwestern Juvenile Project, a longitudinal study of youth who entered the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center between 1995 and 1998. We investigate three questions: (1) Do delinquent youth continue to have a higher risk of mortality into young adulthood than the general population? (2) Does risk of mortality vary by gender, race/ethnicity and age? (3) Are alcohol disorder, drug use disorders, and drug dealing associated with premature violent death? Delinquent youth have higher rates of mortality compared to the general population, irrespective of gender and race/ethnicity. Elevated mortality rates continue into young adulthood, especially for Hispanic males. Involvement in the drug trade is a statistically significant risk factor for mortality prior to age 25.

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Presented in Session 68: Demography of Crime