Drug abuse and crime seem to go hand in hand. Drug addicts commit crimes such as drug possession, selling controlled substances, and assault while high on drugs.
The chances of an individual committing a crime increase significantly when under the influence. Drugs lower inhibitions and may also trigger psychotic episodes that can cause addicts to commit crimes.
Additionally, drug addiction exposes you to criminals such as drug dealers, pimps, and other undesirable members of the society. Addicts are also more likely to kill or steal to finance their drug habit.
But does that mean drug abuse leads to crime? Let’s explore further.
Understanding drug abuse and addiction
Drug addiction is the unstoppable desire to buy and take a particular drug or addictive substance. It is characterized by compulsive intake of mind-altering substances such as opioids, marijuana, cocaine, and hallucinogens.
Drugs change the way our bodies and minds function. Additionally, addiction can lead to job loss, family break-ups, and the loss of your reputation in the community.
There are three main categories of drugs abused.
- Stimulants: These are substances such as cocaine and amphetamines that increase brain alertness. Abusing stimulants can cause agitation, delusional psychosis, and impaired judgment.
- Depressants: These are drugs that depress the brain, such as barbiturates and heroin.
- Hallucinogens: These are drugs that give you an out-of-body experience characterized by hallucinations, such as Ecstasy and LSD. They can cause paranoia, distorted sensory perceptions, and delusions.
Drug abusers take drugs intravenously, in the form of pills, or through inhalation.
These substances can cause health problems such as T.B., HIV, and Hepatitis infections, mental illness, among others.
Therefore, abusing drugs can destroy your life and slowly lead you to a path of crime.
Does drug abuse lead to crime?
If you’ve ever known an addict, you know many will do anything for a fix. This includes harming themselves and others and stealing from loved ones as well as from the community at large for drug money.
When drug abusers cannot access money to pay for their drug habits, they commit crimes such as burglaries and prostitution to support their habits. Many women are forced into trafficking and prostitution to pay for their debts.
Many robberies and acts of physical violence are committed by individuals high on drugs. This is due to the effects of drugs on the brain, such as cognitive-perceptual distortion, bad judgment, and attention deficiency.
Natural consequences of taking drugs such as sleep deprivation, enhancement of personality and mental disorders, and nutritional deficiencies can also lead to criminal behavior.
It’s no surprise that many people arrested for crimes in U.S. cities test positive for drugs.
Therefore, we can conclusively say that drug abuse and crime are interrelated. There is a high likelihood of someone abusing drugs and committing crimes due to their drug habit.
Drug abuse related crimes in the US
Drug abuse leads to serious consequences such as health problems, financial losses, and criminal behavior. That’s because drugs lower our inhibitions, making it easier to commit crimes such as robbery with violence, domestic assault, and DUIs.
According to data compiled by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, 60 percent of people arrested for a crime test positive for illegal drugs. Many inmates also admit to committing a crime under the influence of drugs.
In general, drug abuse is associated with 3 types of crime. These are;
- User-related crimes: These are crimes committed after taking drugs, such as domestic assault cases.
- Economic-related crimes: These crimes occur as addicts look for money to finance their drug habit. Some examples are prostitution, robbery with violence, and drug-related homicides.
- System-related crimes: These are crimes surrounding the manufacturing, selling, and transportation of drugs.
A significant amount of the crime in the U.S. is committed by individuals under the influence of drugs. The percentages are as follows;
- – 24.2 % for crime with violence
- – 30% of rape and sexual assault cases
- – 23.3 percent for robbery related- crimes
- – 24.1 for assault crimes
- – 26.2% for aggravated assault
- – 23.5% for simple assaults.
- – 55% of motor vehicle thefts and burglaries
- – 56 % of robbery and weapons violations crimes
These percentages show that drug abusers are responsible for many of the crimes committed in the U.S.
Some of the drugs abused by a majority of individuals arrested for these crimes are methamphetamines, opioids, and prescription drugs.
Can laws reduce drug abuse and crime?
Since many people arrested for crimes in the U.S. are drug abusers, is it safe to say that enacting and enforcing drug laws can reduce crime? That’s possible.
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act also determines the penalties that recreational drug users face. Since recreational drugs act as a gateway to taking hard drugs, these laws act as a stop-gate measure to prevent further slide.
Other laws, such as the Crime Control Act (1990), are used to reduce drug crimes close to schools by declaring these areas drug-free school zones. This lowers the chances of schools developing addictions through easy access and consequently, getting involved in crime.
However, it must be noted that there is much more to fighting drug abuse and crime than enacting and enforcing laws. Drug abuse is a multifaceted issue that requires the input of not just the justice system, but also the education and family system.
Use of drug treatments to fight drug abuse
The best way to stop drug abuse is to engage addicts in addiction treatments.
Some of the treatments you can expect from a drug addiction facility are;
- Medical detox to cleanse the system of drugs
- Behavioral therapy to help addicts adopt healthy behaviors that do not encourage drug use.
- Mental disorder treatment programs for those who’ve developed mental illnesses from addiction
Addiction treatments yield a positive return on investments in terms of finances and a decrease in crime.
Dealing with addiction is a difficult burden to bear. Reach out and look for help and resources in your local area today.
Author : Kelly Hanks
Kelly Hanks is a freelance writer specializing in legal issues surrounding drug abuse and drug – related crime. She contributes to various law websites, including working closely with New Jersey law firm, Aiello Harris.