Hallucinogen use predicts reduced recidivism among substance-involved offenders under community corrections supervision

This longitudinal study (n=25.622) investigated the relationship between hallucinogen use and recidivism in individuals with a substance abuse history and under community corrections supervision and found that hallucinogen use may reduce recidivism and promote drug abstinence and prosocial behavior.

Abstract

“Hallucinogen-based interventions may benefit substance use populations, but contemporary data informing the impact of hallucinogens on addictive behavior are scarce. Given that many individuals in the criminal justice system engage in problematic patterns of substance use, hallucinogen treatments also may benefit criminal justice populations. However, the relationship between hallucinogen use and criminal recidivism is unknown. In this longitudinal study, we examined the relationship between naturalistic hallucinogen use and recidivism among individuals under community corrections supervision with a history of substance involvement (n=25,622). We found that hallucinogen use predicted a reduced likelihood of supervision failure (e.g. noncompliance with legal requirements including alcohol and other drug use) while controlling for an array of potential confounding factors (odds ratio (OR)=0.60 (0.46, 0.79)). Our results suggest that hallucinogens may promote alcohol and other drug abstinence and prosocial behavior in a population with high rates of recidivism.

Authors: Peter S. Hendricks, C. Brendan Clark, Matthew W. Johnson, Kevin R. Fontaine & Karen L. Cropsey

Notes

This survey study can be seen as a complement, and currently one of the two studies on recidivism and psychedelics, to Doblin (1998).

This study was published on in:

“… indicate that any hallucinogen use disorder was associated with a decreased probability of supervision failure [β -0.49]. This stands in contrast to any cannabis, cocaine, alcohol, opiate, and amphetamine use disorder, each of which was associated with an increased probability of supervision failure (any sedative/ hypnotic use disorder was not related to treatment outcome).”

This distinction between psychedelics (hallucinogens) and other drugs is also highlighted in the discussion, and hopes to open a door into seeing these substances from a new perspective.

“In summary, our results provide a notable exception to the robust positive link between substance use and criminal behavior. They add to both the older and emerging body of data indicating beneficial effects of hallucinogen interventions, and run counter to the legal classification as well as popular perception of hallucinogens as categorically harmful substances with no therapeutic potential. We believe this calls for the continued scientific investigation of this unique class of substances.”

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