Psychology Of Substance Abuse And Crime Criminology Essay

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Because drug use and criminality are very positively correlated, this paper will illustrate and explain the connection of these substances to why people commit crime. Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction contribute to the largest portion of all crime, and this correlation is the leading culprit to induce crime. (Goode, 2012)

Although there is a common knowledge of drug and alcohol abuse, drug and alcohol abuse or addiction contributes to the largest portion of all crime, and this correlation is the foremost culprit to induce crime. (Goode, 2012) We as a moral and honorable nation can and should change the values and standards of people who are subjected to substance abuse and poor child rearage.

Changing the Perception of Substance Abuse and Crime

While programs have the potential to offer drug addicts and alcoholics alternatives to this type of lifestyle which leads to crime, society's perception has to align to legislation for effective innovation to occur.

Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act


As a recent article from the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act shows, "In November 2000 the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act (SACPA), implemented an alternative permitting eligible offenders to receive probation with drug treatment instead of probation or incarceration.) (qtd. in "Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 48(8), 654").

Why SACPA Works

Indeed, drug rehabilitation works because the 70 percent of people who commit crime do not have the actus reus or mens rea to commit crime. The drug and alcohol abuse that leads to criminal acts is the culprit that inclined the offender to commit crime. SACPA has demonstrated through trial studies that sending addicts or alcoholics to prison does very little to rehabilitate the offender. Prison is intended for people that know they are committing the crime with intent to cause whatever harm they may cause. By removing the drug or alcohol addiction, through intervention programs gives the offender the opportunity to commit to change. It reduces the cost of incarceration and probation, while giving the offender the opportunity to reestablish their life, and become a productive citizen. (Gardiner, C. L., 2008).

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV) published by the American

Psychiatric Association (1994), "substance-related disorders" include disorders related to the taking of a drug of abuse (including alcohol), as well as disorders related to the side effects of a medication and to toxin exposure. The substances discussed in this section are grouped into eleven classes: alcohol; amphetamine or similarly acting sympathomimetic; caffeine; cannabis; cocaine; hallucinogens; inhalants; nicotine; opioids; phencyclidine (PCP) or similarly acting

Arylcyclohexylamines; and sedatives, hypnotics, or anxiolytics(, 2012).

DSM-IV Criteria for Substance Dependence

A maladaptive pattern of substance use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three (or more) of the following, occurring at any time in the same twelve-month period: Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect. Markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance (, 2012).

Cost and Sense

By implementing a stronger legislation for drug and alcohol abuse, and enforcing the need for change in the abuser's life creates a safer and healthier environment and society.

Drug Treatment a Viable Alternative to Incarceration

The solution to crime in 2012, with over 70 percent of criminals is drugs and alcohol related, forcing our society to see the correlation of people who commit crime and are substance abusers and not really criminals at heart will cause the necessary change required to benefit society as a whole.

Substance Abuse Intervention Works

In the online article Described in Journal of Criminal Justice, 37(2), 109. (2009), "The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act (SACPA), implemented statewide in California in July 2001, which mandates drug treatment rather than incarceration for certain nonviolent drug offenders." (Reynolds, G. (2009). A substance abuse intervention is a carefully and strategically planned process that involves friends, family and loved ones of the person suffering from substance abuse. Interventions often include examples of the consequences of the substance abuse - how the destructive behavior has impacted the user and his or her loved ones, and how important it is for the loved ones that the person gets professional treatment. Interventions should always be performed in an objective, caring and nonjudgmental way out of concern for the individual or family, not as a threat.

Models for Substance Abuse Intervention

There are several models that professionals may use when planning an intervention. Two common models are the Johnson Model, named after Vernon Johnson, the "father" of intervention, is based on the premise that an individual suffering from addiction and substance abuse is in deep denial about their situation and will not seek help without being confronted by the crisis it has caused in their life. During the substance abuse intervention, the user is confronted with their behavior and the consequences of their drug abuse in a non-judgmental and caring way. The individual is presented with specific examples of the negative consequences of their substance abuse, and treatment options are offered. A Johnson Model intervention is led by a professional, who guides the family through the confrontation so that the experience is one of concern and caring and not anger or malice.

The Invitational Model (Systemic Family Intervention Model) substance abuse intervention doesn't only focus on the addicted individual. The Invitational Model, developed by Ed Speare and Wayne Ratier focuses on the entire family, rather than singling out the individual. Speare and Ratier theorized that if the system (the family unit) changes than each individual will change, including the addicted individual. This systems theory based substance abuse intervention approach is also non-confrontational and nonjudgmental. The intervention takes place over two days, and is an educational intervention whereby the family discusses the science of addiction, the effect on the family as well as behaviors such as enabling and co-dependency.

There is no wrong way to help a family member of loved one get the help they need. We believe that there are multiple approaches that can help an individual seek substance abuse treatment. A united family plan that makes it clear that the family does not and will not support substance abuse can be an important aspect of getting an individual into treatment.

Collaborative Behavioral Management

Collaborative behavioral management among parolees: Drug use, crime and re-arrest in the "step'n out randomized trial" proved successful in diverting crime by drug and alcohol treatment.

Change in Attitude

Although it is difficult to prevent people who have abused drugs and alcohol , we must attempt to influence them to not become suspect to their old associations and addictions, while developing the change in attitude towards responsibility and accountability that has proven to make a difference in criminal activity. (Manskopf, 2011).

"This is a good lesson for those of us working to prevent youth substance abuse to remember. It may take a long time, but if we are vigilant, attitudes can change. Drunk driving attitudes are a good example. So are attitudes around smoking. Even if people now say "kids will be kids" and that there is nothing we can do to prevent youth substance abuse, those attitudes can change" (Manskopf, 2011).

The Offender Profile

Finally, criminal profiling is the process of using crime scene evidence to make inferences about potential suspects, including personality characteristics and psychopathology.

A. Offender Profiling Suggest that Substance Abuse Contributes to Criminal Behavior

For example, recent studies have found through an exploratory Internet survey of forensic psychologists and psychiatrists which was conducted to examine their experiences with and opinions about profiling and to determine whether referring to profiling as "criminal investigative analysis" had any impact on crime. Fewer than 25% believed that profiling was scientifically reliable or valid, and approximately 40% felt that criminal investigative analysis was scientifically reliable or valid." (qtd. in "International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 56(7), 1080" (2012)).

Substance Abusers are a Risk

If people use drugs and or alcohol, their reasoning and rationale are altered, thus causing deviant behavior which leads to criminal activity. This is a real threat to the safety and security of society. (Taverne , 2010)

This is Important Because We Can Change Profiles

Given the statistical analysis of drug and alcohol abuse as it relates to crime, a great opportunity exists for programs and legislation to intervene, making our streets and communities a safer place to live. Without drug and alcohol abuse, crime would diminish drastically in America. For example, Joe Roberts is CEO and president of Mindware Design Communications, a Vancouver-based company which makes multimedia and Web design work technology and runs consulting services. Roberts describes himself as the front man for Mindware, the guy who does the marketing and heads the sales team. He has exceptional sales ability. However, between his meager start as a child and his success today, Roberts plodded a dark, twisted life, one that was perforated with drug addiction, crime and surviving by his wits on the despicable streets of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Mr. Roberts spent several months at a time living under a bridge, because he blew his welfare check on drugs instead of a place to live. It is great that Roberts now wants to expunge in others the fear too to think big and build a better future. He has talked to thousands of high school students in a presentation he calls 'Don't buy the lie about getting high.' (Olijnyk, 2003)

Drugs and alcohol have wreaked havoc on everyone that ventures down their path. The destruction is inevitable, unless programs or assistance has reached the individual who suffers these addictions. No assistance with substance abuse has caused psychologist to be overwhelmed and develop theories of how the drug and alcohol abuse have been associated to criminal activity. The most significant variant to these substances is the fact that the user becomes irrational, and can justify within themselves the adverse behavior that leads to crime. Mental incapacity is a strong indicator of why the psychological impairments occur from substance abuse. Changing this mindset will constantly evolve as more and more research becomes evident to hopefully identify how to address these two matters of discussion.

Obviously, if a child is reared in a situation where the norm is drugs, alcohol, and violence, the role model of acceptance follows the mold. People don't start out as children drinking alcohol, or doing drugs. Someone, often and older individual has the initial impact on the child to consider the adverse lifestyle that leads to criminal conduct. If 70% of all criminal activity is associated with drug and alcohol abuse, then it would suffice to believe that the moral standards of our society as a whole has depleted into social immorality. Changing the attitudes of people that should be normal must occur within the family unit. Ultimately, the adults that steered the youth to violence and substance abuse should be the accountable, more so than the youth that followed their mentors.


Programs like the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, and recognizing the risk in people early on would reduce crime if implementation of intervention occurred before crimes occurred.

Legal medications and alcohol are not the true evil; however, only in moderation. Thus, it's important that our society step in to implement programs and intervention of people at risk. With this knowledge of drug and alcohol abuse, being the largest percentage of criminal association, intervention and programs must be provided. People can change, and making a difference in peoples' lives that will change a society of crime is going to require professionals, law enforcement, and counselors that really want to make a difference in substance abusers lives. It can make a difference, and together as a society of morals and honor, we must come together as a nation and the world as a whole to overcome substance abuse and change the direction of criminal liability.