Drug User And Drug Abuser Criminology Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

People of all ages realize that illegal drug use can cause crime. There is a significant link between drug use and illegal behavior arises from purchase or possession of drugs that is illegal (Abadinsky, 2010). Maxfield and Babbie (2011) contend that drug users are apt to perpetrate crime more than nonusers. In the year 2000, analysis of data revealed that illicit drug users were around 16 times more likely than nonusers to account for the arrest of theft and accused of larceny and 9 times more likely to report allegations of assault and be arrested (Vito and Maahs, 2011). Furthermore, Bureau Justice Statistics showed that in 2009, 17.8 percent of state prisoners and 18 percent of federal prisoners mentioned the motivation of crimes enable them to fulfill their needs as supporting a habit. Obviously, the compulsion of the drug underlies a criminal problem, like drug addiction associated with or aggravated by personal and social desires (Brady, Back & Greenfield, 2009), so coping with drug addiction must be worked out. On the other hand, it is highly probable that people who involved in drug trafficking die in violence (UNODC, 2012). Based on the reported data from the FBI, there were 3.9 percent of the 14,831 homicides as drug narcotics-related in 2007, which occurred specially during drug trafficking or manufacturing (Shanty and Mishra, 2008). These evidences manifested that drug use and criminal behavior undoubtedly seem to be correlated. Even though arrestees and inmates who committed their offenses were under the influence of drugs, there are some questions to be asked: what is the basis of constituting such a relationship? Is there an absolute standard for drug use causing crime or which are two sides influence?

Drug Use

No unitary factor can foresee whether a person will be fond of drug use and tend to a higher risk of drug use, so different people of age, sex, race or socio-economic status is liable to become addicted to a drug (Drogin et al, 2011). Certainly, there are a large number of risk factors that can make someone who are more likely to use and depend on drugs than others (Mckenzie, Pinger, & Koteck, 2011). Understanding what risk factors may be critical to the prevention of drug use and drug-related crime (Donohew, Sypher, Bukosk, 2012).

The first risk factor is genes. This is based on the fact that an individual may tend to use drug as early as antenatal period (Galanter, M. and Klebe, 2008). Drug use and alcoholism by a mother is highly detrimental to her newborn infants since the baby has been raised on the drug or alcohol the whole time in the womb (Harris, 2010). The mother who abuse drug not only lead to physical deformities, but also bring mental and emotional problems to their offspring (Collins, D., Jordan, C., Coleman, 2009). According to the NIDA (2003), children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder results in poor academic performance and who demonstrated rebelliousness and deviant social behaviors, which may be affected by these problems to commence to abuse drugs. The biological Theory manifest that genes determine the basic determinants of human behavior to a considerable extent that probably passes down from one generation to the next (Miller, 2009). Accordingly, drug abuse or criminal behaviour may be genetically inherited.

Second, it is associated with interpersonal factor. This comprises family, school friends, and neighborhoods that affect drug use. While a parent or sibling with alcohol addiction or encouragement for a drug addicts, they more likely create a legacy of alcoholism and drug use within a family (Verster et al, 2012). Also, family conflict and disconnection, arise from divorce and abuse, probably enhances the risk to drug use (Cassel and Bernstein, 2007). Besides, drug use is able to occur when individuals who face problems in school, like academic failure and finally flunking out of school, begin to keep up with the wrong crowd (Bachman et al, 2012). As such, a person tends to believe that drug use is normative and acceptable if problem of drugs happens at home or among peers (Hanson, Venturelli & Fleckenstein, 2011). Interactionist Perspective contends that individuals with abortive self-direction and in lack of social roles are the catalyst to deviant act (Allen, 2007).

Third, the biological and psychological factors affect drug use. Moss and Dye (2010) said that girls are more likely to abuse drugs to lose weight than boys. Male still presents as twice as likely to engage in drug use (Davidson, 2012). It is probable that immature brain development in adolescence induce impaired decision-making and loss of judgment in the experimentation with drug use (Mash and Barkley, 2012). Pagliaro and Pagliaro (2011) explain that criminal behoviour will occur in the predisposition of Chromosomal anomalies, reactions to vitamin deficiencies or environmental susceptivity connected with an unusual genetic temperament in accordance with Psychobiological Theory. On the other hand, having psychological problem, such as depression, stress and loneliness are more likely to increase dependent on drugs (Moore, 2011). For instance, some significant life-changing events and life transitions, such as changing schools, shifting economic situations and the illness or death of a parent, are able to cause anxiety and stress leading to a person susceptible to a drug use and dependence (Williams, 2012).

Forth, cultural and social factors put individuals at risk of drug use. The more favorable the law to drug use, the higher receptive people to use drugs (Hanson, Venturelli & Fleckenstein, 2011). For instance, the impetus to drug legalization would cause social norms and moralities that are consentient to drug use, but the morals and values system will degenerate (Wilson and Kolande, 2011). It would make drugs more widely and easily available in a society, as such, leading to economic broken down but much more serious and it would result in a total smashup within the urban core and other neighborhoods and communities (Dhywood, 2011). This is the greatest risk factor for procuring a distinct rise in drug uses entirely because drug use is generally liable to become an accepted standard.

Drug User and Drug Abuser

Drug use also embraces self-medications covered by medical conditions in which there is little evidence of a sanative advantage thanks to without medical ground, supervision, or even knowledge of licensed health professionals (Abadinsky, 2010). For instance, the drug user takes vitamins, herbs, or other over-the-counter medicine overleaping medical diagnosis to treat the common cold. Use of drug is initially taken for medical purpose, such as headache, insomnia and common cold, but multiple pathways can conduce to abusive depletion (Kirch, 2008).

Use of drugs becomes psychotropic rather than medical purposes (Doweiko, 2011). Purchasers or drug users to be part of this category generally have inadequate or inaccurate knowledge about the medicines they are buying and using or the medication that they want to take (Fortson, 2012). Sometimes people are likely to discover an ease-of-mind changing of mentality when they prepare a self-medication (Bowers and Hale, 2012). An amount of dosage will be inflated as such users become endure this change and ultimately abuse it chronically and grow into dependence (Wills, 2005). They much more rely on natural remedies. With cough and cold preparations in particular, such drug users may not be able to halt because of the fuel for some cases by psychiatric problems, which can occasionally be elicited by the drug itself (Lee, 2006).

Psychotropic drugs

Many believe that marijuana is a gateway drug, which opens the portal for someone to the use of drugs or even harder drugs (Iversen, 2007). There are some drugs, so-called psychotropic drugs, including opiates, such as opium, morphine and heroin, hallucinogens, like LSD and mescaline, cocaine, amphetamines, cannabis and tranquilizers, which are highly addictive (Turkington and Harris, 2009). This means that even if people used for recreational purpose of which they tend to cause physical dependence, resulting in raising the need for the drug. As Kirch (2008, p.302) stated that "The continuous abuse of psychotropic drugs may lead to drug dependence". When it comes to maladaptive or dangerous use of drugs, drug user falls into drug abuse in which also includes excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption (Turkington and Harris, 2009). Similarly, the sustained and excessive exposure to a drug can lead to severe physiological and psychological, as well as social effects (Kleiman and Hawdo, 2011). Apparently individuals taking psychotropic drugs are able to come about in the long run, while craving for drugs, evolve into in quest of the feeling of satisfaction and a way of dealing with anxiety or stress (Edlin and Golant, 2009).

Drugs in relation to crime

The description of drug-related crime has long been criticized because it does not seemingly illustrate the general nature or scope of such crimes (Bennett and Holloway, 2005). Crimes which come out from individuals' drug use, crimes which occur as a result of offenders in need of supporting his or her drug habit, and crimes which betide due to drug trafficking and distribution can be all viewed as drug-related crime (Tonry, 2011).

Related to User

The inhalation of drugs by the victim or offender results in aggressive or deviant behaviors (Goldberg, 2009). It involves an offender's acts of the felony trespass against a victim as well as mischief because of temperament changes generated by drug abuse, like domestic abuse and aggravated assault. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (2010), the violence produced by incessant, hard-core drug use is the most obstinate and deleterious facet of America's drug problem. In 1999, it is indicated that there were 187 alcohol-induced clashes and 111 narcotic-induced nasty fights that caused homicide (FBI, 2000). Still, such behaviours also happen while individuals undertaking withdrawal symptoms like high degree of anxiety and irascibility, and premeditating inhalation of drugs to alleviate anxieties and inspire courage in readiness for deeds of violence. Recent statistics on Drugs in England and Wales revealed that, in 2009, 17 percent of offenders were under the influence of drugs when committing violent offenses, whereas of 47 percent were under the influence of alcohol (SDWAG, 2009).

Related to Money

Drug users are able to commit economic-compulsory crimes so as to fuel their habit (Siegel, 2011). In view of this, many people will risk danger in desperation in order to maintain a drug dependency that is costly. These crimes may not inseparably link to violent, but more likely to become violent. There is an indication that the offender had a lapse into crime as he or she coerces himself or herself to obtain drugs. For instance, the predatory crime, including street crime, such as robbery, burglary, shoplifting and fraud against government assistance programme, is necessary ingredient in living for most narcotic or opiate addiction (Hanson, Venturelli, & Fleckenstein, 2011). Studies report that 67.7 percent of United State prison inmates perpetrate their offence to obtain money to purchase drugs of which either under the influence of drugs or had a background of accustomed drug use while committing offenses (CASA, 2010, cited in Tonry, 2011).

Related to Illegal Activity

The activity of drug trafficking and distribution frequently inclined to be associated with the perpetration of violence (Walsh and Hemmen, 2010). This relates not only transgressions such as drug possession and manufacturing, but also commissions of violence originated from traffic between drug traffickers, rivalry for drug markets and customers, extortions and disputes among persons involved in the illicit drug market, drug deals gone wrong, and disclosure of informers or undercover agent (Siegel, 2011). In other words, murder as a way of implementing systemic rules, exterminating informants, injury and death due to entanglement of drug possession, territory, are all included in the drug participation (Fortson, 2012). According to Home Office (2011), the possession of Cannabis offense in England and Wales accounted for over 69 percent in the year between 2010 and 2011. Besides, findings stated that the arrests for drug abuse violations happened because of possession accounted for 82.5 percent and of 17.5 percent were thanks to drug sale and manufacturing (Newman, 2010).

Possibilities of the link between drugs and crime

There is a general belief that the drug-crime link is causal. More importantly, it is assumed that drug use causes crime. In fact, we fail to assure whether drug abuse leads to crime or perpetrators apt to abuse drugs or possibly neither, there are variables that lead to crime, and the same variables result in drug abuse (Abadinsky, 2010). Areas with high rates of crime also exist high rates of drug usage, while it is valid vice versa. Chambliss (2011) found that the most serious delinquent youth also used illegal drug, but crime and drug use seem to be independent of each other, both significantly are in relation to other causal variables. Then, there is a small portion of adolescents somewhat perpetrating the excessive juvenile crime, and a large number of serious crimes committed by young offenders are focused on serious delinquents having heavy alcohol and drug consumptions (Flowers, 2012). For these persons both drug use and crime seem to connect with trouble lifestyle. According to subculture theories of crime and delinquency, the young people may be part of a wide range of youth subculture that young people with criminal histories are labelled within inner city. Also, they share similar stories, like their outlook on drug use and fighting, and they appeared to go after the same tone (Hagan, 2010). But Social Learning Theory, such as Rational choice Theory, informs us that the offense and delinquency is caused by the individual's free will, that someone abuses drug and perpetrates a crime since they want to (Akers, 2009).

Do Drugs Cause Crime?

Bean (2010) judges that this question of whether crime is before-drug-use or after-drug-use occurrence seems to be too simplistic. In fact, the views that "drugs-cause-crime" probably due to majority of drug users perpetrate non-drug crimes (Maxfield and Babbie, 2011). If it were true, why an effective crush on drug use hardly diminishes non-drug crime rates? Apparently a lot of violent and property offenders use drugs; however, drug users commit serious violent or property crimes is relatively low (Krohn, Lizotte & Hall, 2012) Drug offenders tend to relapse into a drug offense much more than into violent crimes, like weapons violations and armed robberies, or serious property offense, like home and car break-ins, and bank robberies. In this circumstance, do drug users commit crime attributed to drug use? Tonry (2011) claimed that many gangsters who use drugs did not start to use drugs until after they start perpetrating non-drug crimes; moreover, half of the inmates used to take major drug, in which 60 percent abuse drugs till after taking into first custody for a non-drug crime.

When a person has decided to commit crime as income approach, he or she likely to find that drugs are easier to be caught in criminal subculture and it is probable that the risks brought up by the criminal justice system are not as large as primitively expected (Lyman, 2010). Sociological Theory is the factor contributing to criminal behaviour among individuals (Vito and Maahs, 2011). Individuals who are delicate or destroyed bonds to community being the roots cause of criminal behaviour; as a result, they involves in criminal behaviour because they do not envision the advantages of obedience to traditional social values and consider crime as a way to make personal social conditions better. Moreover, criminal activity makes income for which to purchase goods that formerly were unaffordable, including drugs (Eide, Rubin & Shepherd, 2006). As Krohn, Lizotte, & Hall (2012) indicated that drug addicts who steal to fuel their habit as it may be seeing crime as more profitable than usual employment, they would rather keep on robbing to provide income for them to purchase illegal substance. Obviously, crime more likely leads to drug use than the reverse.

Opiate and crime is a matter of stereotypes

The society aggregates many misconceptions about drug use and criminality. Indeed, opiate dependency was in the past regarded as a state without a solution (Renner and Levounis, 2010). This is because these people who engender opiate physical dependency were viewed to have ingrained an addictive personality (Winship, 2011). The Enslavement Theory suggests that addiction came first and crime followed as a consequence; addicts turn to crime because of their addiction (Goode, 2008). Then, these people are banished from the society where compelled them to be inclined to think that they are the role of criminal or social abandoner leading people to create stereotypes on opiate dependents (Doweiko, 2011). Wright and Rackley (2010) contended that opiate dependents believed their disease as an actual essence of their personality bringing no desire for getting away from the torment; besides, opiate dependents is labelled and stigmatized as criminal by the society that removes them from their human value. In fact, the society strives to shield itself from some of identical people having assumed the felonious status that was put on them.

Drug interdiction and eradication effects are doomed to fail

When we believe the drugs-cause-crime, then fighting against drugs is feasible to reduce crime. The United Sates has been launching war on drugs since 1980 (Gorvin, 2008). She strives to combat against the trafficking and use of illicit drugs and hope to restore order by reducing illicit drug use (Maisto, Galizio & Connors, 2010). It is claimed that war on drug would remarkably eliminate the proportion of severe non-drug crimes, such as robbery, rape, assault and murder. Could it be success to reduce crime? Brux (2010) argued that the drug war not only cannot reduce violent and property crime, but it puts people lives and property at greater risk by transferring resources, such as the police, courts and prisons to combat this type of crime. So Benavie (2012) claimed that getting tense on drugs unavoidably turns into getting lax on non-drug crime. Criminal justice resources may be therefore subject to sacrifice while war on drugs. As a result, due to the fact that nearly small number of illegal drug offenders sin violent and property crimes and criminal behaviour more tend to be ahead of drug use than contrariwise, aiming at drugs is simply not working well for fighting non-drug crime.

On the other hand, Brux (2010) indicated that it is also an ineffective and good-for-nothing approach for combating non-drug crime from receding a considerable quantity of rare criminal justice resources because, in fact, the collaboration between combating drugs and non-drug crime is so hard that in some jurisdictions it appears to have given rise to non-drug crime. According to Rupp (2008), it is found that an accession of police executions against drugs as concern as the executions against serious non-drug crimes brings on a smaller likelihood of arrest for property crime in Florida. More importantly, Hess and Orthmann (2008) also argued that the increase in drug law enforcement is one of the reasons for causing prison overcrowding that has imperiled the punishment of other culprits. Particularly, it is not required to bear a proportional number of personnel in overcrowded prisons where any growth of bad behavior will not be adequately tackled. For instance, having more prisoners and fewer staff, the act of drug trafficking, drug abuse and new clusters become more intense (Rupp, 2008). At that time, criminals with violent experiences are able to vent his or her displeasure and hatred on other inmates or even on prison agents, this will constitute a vicious spiral of punishment, retraction of earlier deprived resources and more acts of aggression (Brux, 2010).

Likewise, even if fighting drugs is beneficial to reduce crime, what is its principal task to lessen drug use? Walker (2010) explained that although there is boost number of drug arrests and convictions, drug use overall has not categorically tumbled. Yet, combating drug is significant to decreasing the craving for and quantity of marijuana, whereas entry to prescription medicines has augmented globally. Abadinsky (2010) discovered that narcotics and stimulants, like OxyContin and Ritalin are primary grade of high school students to obtain. This scene is due in large part to drug dealers sense new products, new production techniques, and new marketing tactics in reaction to higher law enforcement (Brux, 2010).


To conclude, illicit drug use is almost undoubtedly associated with deviant behaviour and crime. Although there is a glimpse of persuasibility in the statistical analysis of the link between drug use and crime, there is not an ample reason to come to a conclusion in the matter of absolute cause-and-effect connection between these two phenomena. The presumption that drugs generating crime neglects the impact on living conditions which can be personal. Paylor, Measham & Asher (2012) manifest that an illicit drug use will not advance to become regular users. In most cases, it can be a recreational, sporadic and exploratory activity of people who continue using drugs (Goldberg, 2009). In addition, there is a widespread belief that there is a causal relationship between drugs and crime. Even more, the use of drugs is supposed to leading to crime. The criminological evidence hardly supports this belief as firm as people may envision. Because some of existing researchers make a judgment that the link is very complicated and ventures trying to spell out directive property.

Similarly, the prevailing view, universally described in policy scope, is that the infinitesimal of drug use accelerates the deterioration of criminal wrongdoing. Thus, it is possible to lessen offending in response to the reduction of drug activity by law enforcement or treatment; it is impossible to reduce a total numbers of offenders however. Even more, one single model fails to explain the link between drugs and crime. Instead, there are other pathways that give rise to drug use and crime. Studies have shown that drug use and criminal entanglement embrace common factors, such as ineffective parenting, withdrawn from school, failing academically, peer pressure and economic deprivation. These are common in the backgrounds of drug users and criminals.

In view of this, taking action to tackle drugs and crime is necessary while devised a balanced combination of measures to deal with longstanding cardinal causes about hair trigger problems through education, law enforcement and treatment. This is shown in British Government policy on drugs prevention and overthrow of drug-crime issues. These involve a great exertion to draw further drug-related activities away as a course of minimizing criminal offense. Finally, the suggestion that drug use causes crime has been saying so for years. In any case, drug-related crimes have not been withered away, it's getting worse however. It has been launching a common problem in the world and is a tough and long-lasting war being waged all the countries. Therefore, I agree with James Inciardi (1981) who has written that "the pursuit of some simple cause-and-effect relationship may be futile" (cited in Abadinsky, 2010, p.22).