What Is the Relationship Between Drug Use and Crime?
Candidate number: 1504817Course code: CR1015        ‘What is the relationship between drug use and crime?’ Course Tutor: Prof Ravinder Barn Date of submission: 18/3/2015Final word count: 14421The relationship between drug use and crime is complex. This is a debatable topic in society and has been concerned over the last few decades. A number of research have been done on the link between drug use and crime, but there are lots of different findings. There are lots of evidences showing that drug use is strongly associated with criminal activity, however, some research have found that drug use and crime have no relations. Whether or not drug use and crime relate to each other is a controversial topic. Not all individuals who use drugs become addicted, nor do they commit violent crime. The relationship between drug use and crime is complicated and dynamic, often associated with entrenched social and health problems such as unemployment, social, economic inequality, and poor mental health. So, it is important that we consider other possible factors when we look at the relationship between drug use and crime. In this essay, I am going to explore the relationship between drug use and crime, how they are linked to each other. There are three main theories concerning the relationship between drug use and crime. The three main theories to be examined is the assertion that substance use leads to crime, crime leads to substance use and that crime and drug use have common causes. (Trevor and Katy, 2005)

According to Trevor and Katy (2005), the first theory, substance use leading crime theory, has two separated explanation of how the link occurs. The two explanation are psychopharmacological explanation and economic motivation explanation. The psychopharmacological explanation states that the short or long term use of certain drugs produces physical effects which lead to offending behaviour.  This psychopharmacological theory gains support in research conducted by Lo & Stephens (2002) proposing that offenders were (or claimed to be) intoxicated with illicit drugs at the time of the offence. Data from Australian police also supports the psychopharmacological theory. The date shows that 34% of police detainees claimed to be under the influence of an illicit drug when 2they committed the offence, furthermore 14% claimed to be under the influence of alcohol. The Western Australian Study of Rubbery has also found that around 53% of offenders being influenced by the illicit drugs when they committed crime and about 6% of offenders have the experience of drug withdrawal. Although there are a number of evidence supporting the psychopharmacological theory, the psychopharmacological theory explains little in terms of the relationship between drugs and crime. The statistics only shows that offending behaviours are somehow linked to illicit drugs, but it doesn’t specifically explain how those drugs can lead to criminal activity, therefore causation for those offending behaviours are still questioned. Also, data from Australian police is not representative enough because those data only applies to offenders in Australia but not the general offender population.

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