Co-occurring risk factors for arrest among persons with opioid abuse and dependence: implications for developing interventions to limit criminal justice involvement

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Center for Health Policy and Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Age Factors; Cohort Studies; Crime; Criminal Law; Female; Humans; Male; Mental Disorders; Opioid-Related Disorders; Risk Factors; Sex Factors; Socioeconomic Factors; Substance-Related Disorders


Criminology | Health Law and Policy | Medical Jurisprudence | Mental Disorders | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Persons who abuse or are dependent on opioids are at elevated risk for arrest. Co-occurring behavioral health problems may exacerbate that risk, although the extent of any such increase has not been described. This study examines such risk factors among 40,238 individuals with a diagnosis of opioid abuse or dependence who were enrolled in the Massachusetts Medicaid program in 2010. Medicaid data were merged with statewide arrest data to assess the effects of co-existing mental illness, substance abuse, and previous arrests on arrest during 2010. Persons with serious mental illnesses (psychotic and bipolar disorders) and those with two or more pre-2010 arrests had significantly increased greater odds of arrest. We believe this to be the first study examining effects of co-occurring risk factors on arrest in a large population with opioid dependency/abuse. These findings identify predictors of arrest that could be used to design interventions targeting specific co-occurring risk factors.


Co-occurring psychiatric illness, Criminal justice involvement, Opioid dependency and abuse

DOI of Published Version



J Subst Abuse Treat. 2014 Sep;47(3):197-201. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2014.05.002. Epub 2014 Jun 14. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of substance abuse treatment

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID