Research Summaries

December 2012

Beau Kilmer Video Blog on “A New Approach to Reducing Drunk Driving and Domestic Violence”

  • Researchers in Scotland reviewed three major drug enforcement operations and determined that the proportion of drug users seeing treatment “markedly increased” afterwards. See J. McGallaglly and N. McKeganey, “Does robust drug enforcement lead to an increase in drug users coming forward for treatment?,” Drugs: education, prevention and police, Early Online: 1-4. Contact the lead author, N. McKeganey, at the Centre for Drug Misuse Research,

January 2012

Electronic Monitoring

  • The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) released a report summarizing a study it funded on electronic monitoring. Researchers from Florida State University’s Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research compared the performance of over 5,000 medium and high risk offenders who were placed on house arrest and monitored electronically through Global Positioning Systems (GPS) or radio frequency (RF) systems to more than 250,000 who were not over a six year period. They found that electronic monitoring reduced offenders’ risk of failure by 31% (offenders on GPS outperformed those on RF). The impact was smaller for violent offenders than other offenders, but the results remained significant. View details ».

Marijuana and Driving

  • Researchers at Columbia University conducted a meta-analysis of nine epidemiologic studies and determined that drivers who tested positive for cannabis were more than twice as likely as other drivers to be involved in traffic crashes. View abstract »

Naltrexone (Extended Release Naltrexone, AKA Vivitrol)

  • Researchers examined the feasibility and effectiveness of treating alcohol dependence with extended release naltrexone in the drug court setting by comparing 32 participants who received the medication to 32 participants who did not. Participants who were given the medication missed 57% fewer drug court sessions, had 35% fewer positive drug and alcohol tests, and were rearrested less than one-third as often as their untreated counterparts. View abstract and order »

September 2011

Delaware Decide Your Time Program

  • Delaware’s Decide Your Time Program is a community corrections based program that requires participants to abstain from using illicit drugs, monitors compliance through vigorous drug testing, and provides swift, certain and graduated sanctions for all violations. The program also provides treatment to those who cannot or will not stop using drugs. Researchers at the University of Delaware Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies are conducting a process evaluation of the program; recently, they published their first report. See O’Connell, D., Visher, C., Martin, S., Parker, L., and Brent, J., “Decide your time: Testing deterrence theory’s certainty and celerity effects on substance-using probationers,” 39 J. Crim. J. 261 (2011).

DWI Courts

  • NHSTA and the Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation (PIRE) released their long anticipated study of three Georgia DWI courts. See PIRE found that DWI court participants recidivated 38% less often than a Contemporary Group of offenders and 65% less often than a Retrospective Group. The results were particularly compelling because the study included al DWI court participants, including those who “failed” the program. PIRE estimated that the three courts prevented between 47 and 112 arrests during the four year study period.

August 2010


  • Researchers at the University of California reported that opiod-dependent patients who had buprenorphine delivery devices implanted were significantly less likely to test positive for illicit opiod use than their counterparts in a control group (28% versus 40%) during a 16 week trial. Additionally, they were far more likely to participate meaningfully in their treatment programs (none of the buprenorphine patients “failed” their treatment, while 31% of those not getting medication did). The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, 305: 1576-1583October 13, 2010). Click here to purchase the article. Click here for an article that highlights the advantages and disadvantages of implantation.

Drug Courts

  • Researchers from various organizations published a report detailing the successes of drug courts in 12 countries. They found that the courts reduce crime, recidivism, and costs.

Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE)

  • APPA published Dr. Angela Hawken’s latest article on the HOPE program in the Summer 2010 issue of Perspectives. The document, entitled “The Message from Hawaii: HOPE for Probation,” details the program’s dramatic impact on drug use and recidivism. Visit the APPA website to order the article, which appears on page 36. For more information on the results you can e-mail Dr. Hawken.

Extended-Release Naltrexone (Vivitrol)


  • The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) released a report detailing the processes undertaken and costs incurred when Illinois implemented its interlock program for first DUI offenders. Drawing on years of additional experience in traffic safety and interlocks, the authors provide recommendations for other states implementing similar programs.

State Prison Population Drops for the First Time in 38 Years

  • In Prison Count 2010: State Population Declines for the First Time in 38 Years, researchers at the Pew Charitable Trusts Center for the States discuss prison population trends and identify six reasons why the population decreased in 2009: (1) advances in supervision technology; (2) advances in the science of behavior change; (3) development of more accurate risk assessments; (4) public support for prison alternatives; (5) increasing focus on cost-benefit analysis; and (6) budget pressure.

Test to Identify Those Who Chronically Abuse Alcohol

  • Scientists are developing a new test to identify people who chronically abuse alcohol. The test utilizes a 17-plasma protein panel. Researchers conducted preliminary testing with an “alcohol self-administering nonhuman primate model system” and found it to be 100% sensitive and 88% accurate. See W. Freeman, et al, Classification of Alcohol Abuse by Plasma Protein Biomarkers.

April 2010

Alcoholics Anonymous

  • A recent study led by Dr. John Kelly of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital found that AA attendance was associated with improved alcohol use outcomes and decreased depression. Click here to read the abstract and purchase the article.

Drug Courts

  • NPC Research is conducting an evaluation of Maryland’s drug courts. NPC has released a series of reports, most recently detailing outcomes of the Baltimore and St. Mary’s County Juvenile Drug Courts.

Hawaii Opportunity Probation With Enforcement (HOPE)

  • In December 2009, Drs. Angela Hawken and Mark Kleiman submitted a report, Managing Drug Involved Probations with Swift and Certain Sanctions: Evaluating Hawaii’s HOPE, to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). The study compared 940 HOPE participants with 77 non-participants during the time of their supervision. The study was conducted under a grant provided by the NIJ. HOPE participants dramatically outperformed non-participants in all categories. In sum, HOPE probationers were:
    • 55% less likely to be arrested for a new crime while in the program
    • 72% less likely to use drugs
    • 61% less likely to miss appointments with their supervising officers
    • 53% less likely to have their probation revoked
    • Served 48% less jail or prison time than their counterparts.

Substance Abuse and Crime

  • The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) released a comprehensive new publication entitled Behind Bars II: Substance Abuse and America’s Prison Population. CASA reported that:
    • 65% of all U.S. inmates, jail or prison, met the criteria for substance abuse addiction
    • 85% of all U.S. prison inmates met the criteria for substance abuse addiction
    • Alcohol and/or drugs were involved in 78% of violent crimes
    • Alcohol and/or drugs were involved in 83% of property crimes
    • Alcohol and/or drugs were involved in 77% of weapon, public order, and other crimes
    • But only 11% of inmates with substance abuse and addiction disorders receive treatment