Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Public Health

Degree Type

Master of Public Health in Health Education


Changing lifestyles in today's world have resulted in the evolution of many human activities. One of them is recreational drug use. The purpose of this study was to explore the association between drug usage, mental well-being and felony convictions among a sample of adult recreational drug users. The primary purpose of this analysis was to develop a set of predictor variables from the DRUGNET data set (i.e., lifestyle, drug usage, GWBS) that were able to account for the criterion variables (i.e., drug-related felony vs. no drug- related felony and non-drug felony vs. no felony ). The analyses attempted to differentiate the smaller portion of drug users who have experienced felony offenses (i.e., cases) from the majority of users who have not been convicted of these offenses (i.e., controls). Epidemiological case-control analyses (discriminant analyses) were performed by drawing a matched sample of cases and controls using their gender and age (+/- 2 yrs.). Drug laws and policies differ from country to country. Therefore the present study was limited to the United States citizens of age 18 yrs. or older. The study results support the hypothesis that there is a subgroup of the drug consuming population (i.e., recreational drug users) who lead productive and successful lives. The results found suggest that punishing a relatively small portion of drug users for their personal habits of using/possessing drugs may be counter productive rather than focusing on controlling abuse. The implication is that drug use should be perceived as a public health problem, not a criminal activity. The national policy targets should focus on education, public health, treatment and rehabilitation rather than incarceration.


Criminology and Criminal Justice | Mental and Social Health | Public Health | Substance Abuse and Addiction