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Areas surrounding outpatient drug treatment centers are less likely to experience violent crimes than areas near liquor and corner stores, according to new research.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health say their findings challenge claims that drug treatment centers attract criminals, HealthDay reports.
The study examined data about violent crime in areas surrounding 53 publicly funded drug treatment centers in Baltimore, and compared it with data from areas around 53 liquor and corner stores. The liquor and corner store areas had 25 percent more murders, rapes, assaults and robberies per business, the researchers report in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
The researchers did not include crimes that occurred in liquor or corner stores, because they are known to be robbed more frequently than drug treatment centers, the article notes.
“Our findings show that drug treatment centers pose no additional risk of violence above and beyond any traditional business in the community,” study author C. Debra Furr-Holden said in a news release. “They have gotten a reputation as magnets for crime, but the data just don’t support that. By contrast, communities often solicit other types of businesses to locate in their neighborhoods, even though they appear to have a more profound effect on attracting crime,” she noted.
“There’s a lot of bias and bigotry against people with addiction problems,” said study co-author Dr. Adam Milam. “Addiction is preventable and it’s treatable. We need to provide treatment centers in the communities where people addicted to drugs live, not say treatment centers aren’t welcome here.”