Characteristics of primary amphetamine users in Sweden: a criminal justice population examined with the Addiction Severity Index.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND/AIMS: Characteristics of primary amphetamine, heroin and cocaine users were compared in a criminal justice population. METHODS: 7,085 clients with suspected or reported substance use were studied using the Addiction Severity Index. Variables separating amphetamine, heroin and cocaine users were analyzed in stepwise logistic regression. RESULTS: There were considerably more primary amphetamine users (n = 1,396) than heroin (n = 392) and cocaine (n = 119) users. Amphetamine users were older, a more rural population, and less likely to be non-Nordic immigrants. Compared with heroin, amphetamine use was associated with older age, Nordic origin, nonurban residence, memory/concentration problems, parental alcohol problems, and less history of other opioid use, overdose and detoxification. Compared with cocaine, amphetamine use was associated with older age, Nordic origin, nonurban residence, injecting, tobacco and institution treatment. Overlap of drug use between groups was relatively uncommon. CONCLUSION: This pattern of amphetamine use, common among Swedish criminals, has relatively distinct boundaries from heroin and cocaine use, commonly involves injecting, and differs from other countries. Psychiatric problems and alcohol heredity were common, and evidence-based treatment for amphetamine users is needed. The connection between amphetamine use and criminal behavior is insufficiently understood and should be further addressed.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Substance Abuse
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-18
JournalEuropean Addiction Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch