How are substance abuse and crime and child maltreatment connected?


Substance abuse and crime and child maltreatment are tragically and undeniably connected. Following are some examples of the link between substance abuse, crime and child maltreatment:

  • In a study of 513 children exposed to drugs in utero, rates of abuse were two to three times that of other children in the same geographical area.
  • As many as two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse report being abused or neglected as children.
  • Fourteen percent of all men in prison and 36 percent of women in prison in the US were abused as children, about twice the frequency seen in the general population.
  • Children who experience child abuse and neglect are about nine times more likely to become involved in criminal activity.

This content originally appeared on

Continue Learning about Child Abuse

Child Abuse

In most cases of child abuse, the abuser is someone the child knows; parent, relative, or family friend. Abuse can be emotional, neglect, sexual, or physical abuse. All types of abuse can cause permanent mental or emotional damage ...

to the child as they age. Many will turn to alcohol or drug use, and some may become withdrawn and depressed.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.