Μινέρβα-Μελπομένη Μαλλιώρη, Καθηγήτρια, Ιατρική Σχολή, ΕΚΠΑ
Αθανάσιος Δουζένης, Καθηγητής, Ιατρική Σχολή, ΕΚΠΑ
Ηλίας Τζαβέλλας, Επίκουρος Καθηγητής, ΕΚΠΑ
The purpose of this paper is to present data collected from interviewing 550 offenders with substance-abuse related charges who were evaluated by the same forensic psychiatrist between 2007 and 2017, following a Court order, in order for the expert to establish if they were “drug addicts” or not. The statistical processing of these data aims at bringing out the arrested person’s profile, i.e. some common characteristics of these people, as well as any differentiations due to the economic crisis in relation to variables such as the main substance used that led to the arrest, intravenous use, and participation in rehab/substitution programs.
The research showed that the sample consisted mainly of Greek males of an average age of approximately 35, high school graduates, unmarried and mostly employed. Most of them were carrying hashish at the time of arrest, with sleeping pills and heroin coming next. The majority had been arrested for narcotics again in the past, while most of them underwent expert evaluation for the first time. A significant number of them had been arrested in the past for theft, but a rather high percentage had never been incarcerated. As far as the use of narcotics was concerned, most of the people arrested and evaluated were using mainly heroin. The percentage of those practicing intravenous use of narcotics was also significant, as was the percentage of those who had made at least one attempt to enroll in a rehab/substitution program. As far as their psychiatric background was concerned, the sample revealed that a substantial percentage had attempted suicide at least once and had developed symptoms of psychotic disorders. However, the majority of the people in the sample had never been hospitalized for psychiatric care. There was also a high percentage of people with cognitive deficits. From the point of view of their medical background, there was a significant percentage of people suffering from a specific disease, with hepatitis C leading the way and epilepsy following suit. It was also revealed that a high percentage of the sample had at least once been involved in a road accident under the influence of drugs or in a state of withdrawal. According to the expert’s finding, 83.5% of the people in the sample were “drug addicts”.
As far as correlations were concerned, the main substance of use was found to be correlated to most variables studied. Moreover, exclusive use of heroin was positively correlated to participation in rehab programs and the expert’s finding. Exclusive use of hashish was negatively correlated to ethnic origin, intravenous use, suicide attempts, medical background, accidents under the influence, psychotic symptoms, cognitive deficits, and the expert’s finding. Exclusive use of cocaine was negatively correlated to intravenous use and the expert’s finding, while intravenous use was correlated to hepatitis C, epilepsy and hepatitis B. In addition, it was revealed that men tend to make parallel use of more narcotics than women, while women prevail in suicide attempts. When the economic crisis was used as a criterion, it was found that average participation in rehab/substitution programs during the crisis has dropped by 20.31%.
Narcotics, Drugs, Drug offenders, Forensic psychiatric assessments, Psychiatric background, Medical background.