Antipsychotic medications can reduce violence and other forms of crime among people being treated for schizophrenia. (Photo credit: SimonQ)

Medications for Schizophrenia: Impact on Crime and the Importance of Supported Housing

June 28, 2017

New research reports for the first time that antipsychotic medications can reduce violence and other forms of crime among people being treated for schizophrenia. SFU Health Sciences researchers Stefanie Rezansoff and Julian Somers have published a series of studies examining the relationship between antipsychotic medication adherence and repeat criminal activity, as well as effective interventions for those who are homeless.

Their most recent study – published June 20 in Schizophrenia Bulletin - found that treatment with antipsychotic medication following clinical practice guidelines was associated with significantly lower rates of violent and non-violent crime. However, they also reported that the majority of offenders with schizophrenia, do not receive guideline-level pharmacological treatment, and continue to commit offences despite frequent contact with the medical system.

Other recent publications in this program of research focused on people with schizophrenia who were homeless, and showed that Housing First, an approach focused on moving homeless individuals into independent and permanent housing with additional support services, significantly increased adherence to antipsychotic medication. “This is especially true when participants moved into individual market rental units, and had access to services tailored to their individual needs,” says Rezansoff, a public health specialist who tracked 165 homeless patients with schizophrenia over 2.5 years. Research by the Somers Research Group has also shown that the costs of providing housing and support are about the same as, or less than, leaving people homeless and involved with the courts, jails, prisons, and shelters.

“Our findings reinforce the importance of Housing First, and the need for immediate action to increase antipsychotic adherence among previous offenders and those who remain homeless while living with schizophrenia,” says Somers, a clinical psychologist.

Latest News

  • June 11, 2018
    Medical tourism research reveals health inequities facing local populations in Mexico
    Krystyna Adams, who convocates this month with a PhD in health sciences, spent three months living in Mexico to learn how medical tourism practices shape health-care delivery. The research, conducted for her thesis, illustrates how the medical tourism industry might exacerbate global health inequities if health-care resources are only used to provide care to those who can afford to pay.
  • June 08, 2018
    SFU student team wins third at prestigious Oxford competition
    A team of five enthusiastic Faculty of Health Sciences students won third prize at a prestigious global competition at Oxford University for their inspiring presentation about the mental health issues facing second generation immigrant youth.
  • June 07, 2018
    PhD research sheds light on aging with HIV
    Growing up in Nigeria, SFU alumnus Oghenowede (Ede) Eyawo dreamed of working in a profession where he could improve people’s health—a dream he has realized now that he is graduating with a PhD from SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences.