Pathological gambling in arrestee populations

Abstract

This study was an attempt to provide answers to several fundamental questions regarding prevalence, correlates and consequences of pathological gambling disorders in arrestee populations. The data for this research were collected in conjunction with the National Institute of Justice's ADAM (Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring) programs in Las Vegas, Nevada and Des Moines, Iowa.Quarterly interviews with arrestees selected using probability-based sampling are conducted in jails and detention facilities at each ADAM site. Urine samples are also collected and tested for a core panel of drugs that include cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and opiates. Because the drug screen cannot detect drugs beyond 72 hours after use, only arrestees who have been incarcerated 48 hours or less are eligible for participation. Slightly more than 10 percent of the arrestees booked into Las Vegas detention facilities met the DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling. Prevalence surveys of the general population generally find pathological gambling to be more common among males, nonwhites, the young, those less educated, and the unmarried, however these results were significantly different amongst those arrested for felony and misdemeanor offenses. Arrestees who were pathological gamblers were no more likely to be arrested for serious crimes (i.e., felonies) than non-pathological gamblers, nor were they any more likely to be charged with income-generating crimes. Gambling is, directly or indirectly, a motivation or cause of a significant proportion of all criminal offending by those with serious gambling disorders. In general, pathological gamblers were no more likely than nonpathological gamblers to test positive for illegal drugs.

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