Child abuse is known to be a risk factor for a number of different mental-health problems and antisocial behaviour. For example, the Center's for Disease Control's famous Adverse Childhood Experiences research found a strong link between various adverse experiences in childhood and later physical, social, and mental health problems.
Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York studied 143 people in an attempt to find out more about the link between child abuse and drug addiction. 48 of them were child molesters, 25 were recovering opiate addicts and the rest formed a healthy control group. The participants were asked whether they had suffered adult sexual advances while they were children or if they had had sexual intercourse with someone at least five years older before they were 13. The participants who were child molesters or recovering opium addicts had lost their virginity at a younger age than the healthy controls. However, while the child molesters were more likely to have been abused themselves the recovering addicts were no more likely to have suffered child abuse than the control group. But, this was a relatively small study and a number of other researchers have found a link between child abuse and drug addiction.
Cohen, Lisa J. ... [et al] - Comparison of Childhood Sexual Histories in Subjects with Pedophilia or Opiate Addiction and Healthy Controls: Is Childhood Sexual Abuse a Risk Factor for Addictions? Journal of Psychiatric Practice 16(6):394-404, November 2010
Center for Family Development