Exploring the relationship between Substance abuse and Criminal Behaviour

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Adolescents who have a substance abuse problem leads to deviant acts that leads to problems in their adulthood. Mental problems that develop from substance abuse and drug problem may be one of the factors that affect their behaviour in society. Substance abuse and criminal behaviour on adolescents and possibly adulthood is affected by the environment they were brought up in and parental influence is the major factor that causes teenagers to use drugs and alcohol that may cause problems associated with it. Factors such as problems with family and friends is a disadvantage for teenagers because they do not have the support that they need, and they turn to friends who have bad influence on them, they start using drugs and excessively drinking that helps them to deal with their personal issues. Problems increase if they are not able to deal with drug and alcohol problems. There are research that the problem of substance abuse has to do with family problems, the effects of substance abuse, and childhood and adolescent problems that may be due to environmental factors.

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Psychological problems that is associated with substance abuse that could lead to criminal behaviour is that the effects what drugs and alcohol can give you, (Bartol 1999) discussed how they become so addictive to it, that they need it to make them satisfy with themselves, "...the person's life is permeated with thoughts of procuring and using the drug, and he or she may resort to crime to obtain it" (362). The dangerous drugs can lead to both the youth and adult population to behave differently, research has shown that the level of drugs that a youth takes, has an effect on what deviant act they would do."…the level of juvenile crime closely parallel to the drug use" (Blumstein et al.,1986, 55). The severity effect of a drug and alcohol does have an effect on the seriousness of the criminal act that they are going to do, it shows that a connection of certain of drugs effects the type of behaviour because of the after effect of the drug, "Highest crime rates were found for youths who reported the use of cocaine…separating the youths into offender groups based on the seriousness and number of crimes committed showed that even within these relatively homogenous groups, youths who used pills or cocaine had the highest crime rates" (55). This evidence shows that adolescents who use drugs have a serious impact on their behaviour, because the effects of drugs can make a person become high and they would not be conscious of what they are doing, also adolescents who are addicted to it, would probably start committing crimes such as thefts but later on it would affect them mentally to do other crimes because they think that it is acceptable. Pills, Marijuana, and Cocaine were in fact shown the most dangerous drug because it showed associations with number of crimes, "Youth who used marijuana had overall rates of crime that were three times higher...youths who used pills but not cocaine, in turn had higher crime rates than the users of marijuana or alcohol, particularly for index offenses or drug sales" (55). The effects of these crimes may be the consequence of not having anyone positive to guide them and they are not able to cope with their emotions because they are not able to talk to anyone about it, and they are influenced by the negative people who tells them that the path of drug and alcohol use is considered acceptable, the effects such as cocaine gives the person changes the person state of mind, "It has acquired notoriety as the cash drug for crime syndicates, the drug for temporary personal pleasure and unimaginable individual psychological craving" (Gullotta &Blau, 1994, p.7). This shows that giving you a "pleasure" can be a factor that makes a person's behaviour unpredictable.

The effects of how substance abuse can mentally effect adolescent to behave in a certain way might be related to their childhood, the personality that shapes the child has an impact on what they may be like when they grow older, this may be the consequence of not having the support that they have. Gullota & Blau (1994) research showed that children's negative emotions is associated with the likelihood of using drugs and alcohol, "Continuing behavior problem most usually hyperactive, aggressive, and seemingly rebellious activity that reflects poor impulse control; an inability to delay gratification; sensation seeking…" (16). The problem with the children behaviour is that learning the lack of self control is a problem because they do not know what is wrong and right. All the anger that they are not able to channel leads to behaviour in the teen years which is a critical period for them, people they choose to be friends with, reflects the outcome either if they are going to be on the street, involved with the wrong people which can lead to getting into drug and alcohol trouble, "Choosing to associate with drug-using peers and having attitude favorable to use are additional risk factors for any adolescent" (16). Allowing people into their effect their problems.

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Another factor could be the problem of self esteem of being friends who are using drugs, they are not being able to find any friends, so they think that it is that they are part of a group, they feel that they are part of something to make them feel better, "...adolescent may have been prone to frequent antisocial behaviour prior to association with delinquent friends." (Bartol, 1999, p.32). The feeling of being alone can cause an individual to make wrong decisions, "Finally, alienation from, nonacceptance of, or outright rejection of the dominant values of the society have been shown to be associated with greater risk of alcohol and other drug-use problems" (16). All deviant behaviours that is not being able to be fixed will be likely to be effect future consequences such as problems with their own home environment and crimes that they may commit may get worse. Other factors come into play with the consequence of substance abuse; there are also the fact that they can be harming their life, "...in the student study, the rates of reported health problems, parasuicides(suicide attempts) and law violations increase with progressive involvement with licit and more especially illicit drug use..." (Kokkevi&Stefanis,1990,p.116). This shows that there are other factors that is involved that effect the victim, society, and the individual.

Environmental factors and family influence is also a big issue that leads to deviant acts, because of the family problems that is constantly going on which is incorporated into the child's life. The most important is that the parental guidance and support is important but with the lack of that, they do not feel that they are wanted, "Membership in a family where there is little warmth, support or positive bonding, and there is parental, nondirectiveness and permissiveness and not adequate supervision" (Turner, 1994, p.51). It also has to do with the level of self confidence that they have, but if they have the support they know the people who set as good examples, "...children who are attached to their parents and involved in family activities, whatever they may be are less likely to initiate substance abuse and less likely to associate with drug users. If parents are involved in their adolescents' lives in ways such as influencing peer choice and prosocial activities" (46). During the teenage years, it is important that reassurance and being able to know themselves, which builds character, those who are excessively drinking and doing drugs shows that they do not have a goal, they turn to what makes them feel good.

When parents show the child hatred, it leads to the child's emotion problems. It has been shown that when they are exposed to family problems, drugs and alcohol use by the parents, the negative environment, also being exposed to drugs and alcohol biologically which effects their growth once they are born, "Prenatal drug exposure is a complex phenomenon that must be understood within an ecological context, including the uterine, familial, social, and economic environments in which the fetus, infant, and child develop" (Harden, 1998, p.20). With all the factors that the child has to live with while growing up, has big probability that they will lack in decision making, because the parents are setting bad examples when they use drugs and alcohol as part of their lifestyle, this effects the parents behaviour toward the children, "Having a parent or sibling who abuses alcohol or other drugs. As social learning theory, predicts, adolescents growing up in families where drug use is the behaviour that is modeled will have a tendency to adopt that behavior" (Turner,1994,p.41). Also when the parent is not taking responsibility to teach the child is also a consequence how the child behaves, "...any kind of parental nondirectiveness and permissiveness are risk factors for adolescent drug misuse" (41). Parents who are not able to give them boundaries, is a disadvantage because they do not know self control.

Being mistreated at a younger age is also a precursor to the problems that can develop over time, violence in the household is a definite factor because children can easily absorb information by what others are doing and also being a victim a parental abuse leads to their problem with substance abuse, "... physical abuse in child hood was significantly related to current illicit drug use in adulthood"(Huang et al.,2010, p.95-96). This is the consequence of not being able to deal with their childhood life. It has been shown that parents who use drugs, turn their anger on to their children and the outcome of the child's behaviour, "...cases involving cocaine using parent was reported due to child neglect. In this same study, sexual maltreatment of children by one of the parents...." (Harden, 1998, p. 35). This would probably be the same when they reach their adulthood and the likelihood of abusing innocent victims and even their own family.

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Childhood and adolescent psychological problems have been shown with the development of their personality and people they were involved with. As they get older situations get more complicated because as they see more in society, it is easier for them to get into other sorts of trouble, serious crimes will likely to happen, "...violent predators, i.e. persons reported committing robbery, assault and drug dealing and who had very high crime rates, had extensive histories of drug use" (Blumstein et al., 1986, p.56). This links back to the drug use in the teen years when they start to become criminals, the crime history increases as substance abuse increases. There has also been research done with alcohol, how the crimes are just as serious with drugs, "...alcohol and homicide are intimately and intricately related phenomena... The fact is that most homicide offenders have been drinking or are intoxicated when they kill..." (Forrest&Gordon,1990,15). There were also research shows that drugs such as a heroin, that has been associated with crime in adults, "...study indicate that for each offender group high-cost heroin users had the highest crime rate" (Blumstein et al., 1986, p.57). This is another type of drug that they are exposed to. (Forrest&Gordon,1990) have found that crimes associated with drugs have also been found in alcohol, "... alcohol involvement on the part of the victim is associated with increasing seriousness of injury in assaults, robberies, and rapes" (12). This shows that people who do not get the help that they need, the problems escalate to the point when their deviant act gets worse but problem is that they incorporated drugs and alcohol into their lifestyle.

The effect of drug and alcohol has a different effect that leads to why adolescents and adults act in an uncontrollable behaviour. Criminals who are under the effect of alcohol, especially alcohols, can disturb the person's thinking, "Very often, self confidence increases and the person becomes more daring, sometimes foolishly so" (Bartol,1999, p.375). This goes back to the point how alcohol was related to crimes, since it gives them the self esteem and not being afraid because they are not aware of the consequence, this leads to acts of criminal behaviour that was associated with alcohol, assaults, robberies, and rapes. The level of drinking also effect the individual act of how severe it is going to be, "Violence frequently occurs in social situations where drinking is heavy, physiological arousal is high (such as anger), interpersonal conflict is evident, and cognitive processes-especially judgement and abstract reasoning- are impaired" (377). This shows that the emotions and their state of mind is effected by the drinking, it is overtaking them, the emotion that is incorporated with the drinking is shown that it is correlated with each other, " Research in the psychology laboratory also finds strong evidence that drinking alcohol facilitates physical aggression" (377). The level of drinking not only effects with crime but it also interferes with personal life; men who are alcoholics may emotionally or physically abuse the wife because anger and alcohol that is affecting them.

Drugs that also create mental problems that leads to criminal behaviour, there are research findings in drugs such as cocaine and heroin which is related to crime that affects the individual's criminal acts. Cocaine can lead to serious mental problems and other affects that also come along with, "... a syndrome with many of the psychotic features of the paranoid schizophrenia." This mental problem can alter person's state of mind, which can lead to issues but the correlation between the drug and the crime is not strong, because there is not enough research to support it, " no study has shown that stimulants or cocaine facilitate either property crime of violent crime" (370). This does not mean that the research that been discussed with the association of cocaine and criminal behaviour does not exist; there may be other reasons that they were involved in the crime, excluding rape or murder. Even though there was not enough research found that cocaine is not as strongly related to crime, the effects of it should be a red flag indicating it could be a factor that it is related to crime behaviour, " There is generally an elevation of mood, mild euphoria, increased sociability and a belief that one can do just about anything" (370). This relates to how alcohol can raise the person's self esteem and they are able to do anything when they are not fully aware of what they are doing.

Heroin that has been discussed how people who take this drug commit the most crimes. It is known as a narcotic drug and it has been shown that it highly effects crime, "The word narcotics usually provokes intense negative reactions and very often is quickly associated with crime" (371). This links back to the research that (Blumstein et. al, 1986) found how people who used heroin had high crime rates. The effects of heroin has some effects that signals severeness of the criminal act, "... it is assumed that the heroin user is bizarre, unpredictable, and therefore dangerous" (373). The actions that they are not aware of also concerns how adolescents do things to harm themselves from taking heroin, "Research have been shown that the effect of heroin is also that even though the person's can become deviant, the level of drug taken can make the person not as dangerous, " However, high doses of narcotics produce sleep rather than the psychotic or paranoid panic states sometimes produced by high doses of amphetamines. Therefore, narcotics users rarely become violent or dangerous" (373). We should not exclude that the fact that even though it says that makes a person drowsy, there are factors of the symptoms that leads to crime, even though there is research that stated people take drugs are not usually dangerous, " Research strongly indicates that addicts do not, as a general rule, participate in violent crimes such as assault, rape or homicide" (373). Just like alcohol, the negative emotions that (Bartol, 1990) discussed that the negative emotions and the excessive drinking leads to criminal acts, which can also be the same with drugs, whether they are going through depression or peer pressure, can be a factor that crime happens, not just the drug alone.

Substance abuse and criminal behaviour is a serious issue because it can harm victims, our loved ones and harm ourselves. If treatment is not available to treat the youth population, it can lead to the next generation of criminals which can increase crime rates. As we can see, the effects of drugs and alcohol does to lead to criminal behaviour and the personal aspect of it also tell us that people who are not stable and they may also have emotional problems who is not being able to do deal with it, so they place that anger and use violence to deal with their temperament issues. Children who have witnesses violence and being part of it, is a predictive factor that it is