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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 51 (2009) 11, 813 - 820

Review article

Addiction and recidivism in forensic psychiatry

E.F.J.M. Brand, T.P.C. Lucker, A.A. van den Hurk

background The prevalence of addiction in forensic psychiatric patients (adolescents and adults) is unknown. Published figures are nearly always based on estimates or on old or select samples.
aim To determine the importance of addiction as a risk factor for recidivism in forensic psychiatric patients in the Netherlands and to determine the prevalence of addiction in this group and the prevalence of drug intoxication in group-members at the time they committed the offence.
method We analysed one database relating to forensic psychiatric adolescents and two sets of data relating to tbs-patients (tbs = 'detained at her Majesty's pleasure').
results The prevalence of addiction among forensic psychiatric patients could only be given approximately, but it was certainly high (more than 60%). Substance abuse or addiction often played a major role (in more than 30% of cases) at the time the offence was committed for which the detention order was issued.
conclusion Because substance abuse often played a role in the delinquent behaviour that led to the detention order, it may also be a risk factor for recidivism. More research is needed so that we can increase our knowledge about the most effective ways of treating substance abuse.


keywords addiction, intoxication, forensic psychiatric patient, recidivism