Do you believe that drug abuse and criminality have a strong relationship?
Hello lulia, As a forensic scientist and geneticist i must say yes. There is a strong relationship between drug abuse and criminal behaviors.
You can easily Google the stats of this happening. There are alot of researchers who worked on certain drug use and it's effects on addictions and then criminal behavior. My own research topic was a gene polymorphism study in alcohol and drug addicts. ( which leads to more criminal activities). Alot of crimes occur in people when they are not sober, alot of crimes happen because of the drugs like in the need of the drug, when addicts don't find it they get violent. Thefts, violence, hit and run, abuse are very common around drug abusers.
Thank you for your answer! I am really interested in your study about the gene polymorphism study in alcohol and drug addicts. If possible I would like to see some of your bibliograpy or conclusions on this topic.
You are really welcome. I haven't published my thesis yet but i can definitely show you my abstract which will probably give you all the details you want 🙂
to quote the original article Daniel Posted:
Many people who are dependent on drugs like heroin and crack cocaine were involved in criminal activity before becoming dependent on drugs, so the drug use may not be the cause of the crime.
Poverty, unemployment and social exclusion are often underlying factors rather than the drug use itself.
Many people commit crimes in order to feed, clothe and house themselves and their families.
Some users have jobs, benefits or other forms of income that are used to purchase drugs.
Many users do not use large amounts of street drugs all the time. Dosage and frequency of use may go up or down and they may also have access to other substitute drugs, such as heroin users being prescribed methadone.
Most people who use illegal drugs (the majority are non-problematic users) do not commit crimes to get money to pay for the drugs.
@Iulia Vulcu I have heard of this and Bill and Dr. Bob were experimenting with this also when they came up with alcoholics anonymous.
@Eve Fritz I really believe that there are not so many "bad" people, I guess we just have to fight too many demons in todays society..
@Iulia Vulcu yeah it happens...depression and stuff gets the better of people and they turn to drugs to self medicate is often what I see happening. If they are a criminal, more than likely they are doing that stuff already and the drugs came later on.... I just think its important to realize that all kinds of people use drugs, and not all drugs are used by bad people or criminals. Your best friend or lawyer friend might be on drugs.
"While this issue isn't as common as alcohol addiction, 9% of attorneys have been found to struggle with prescription drug abuse. They're commonly used by lawyers who are trying to stay up later to complete their work or others to sleep at night as a means of stress relief"
The stigma around addiction that addicts are criminals doesn’t help anyone. Addicts are often exploited. Do some research I’d like to play the Devils advocate on this one.
@Eve Fritz The reason it does not warrant an insanity plea is because once they are sober from the substance they are returned to being competent to aid in their own defense. Substance use disorders do however qualify for ATI courts which is what I said, I didn’t mention insanity
@Daniel Sumner thank you that's what I've been trying to say....I'm not a lawyer or anything and the legal side of things for me is not my expertise. I come from a place of empathy above statistics in my realm of psychological evaluation. thank you....
@Emily M right ....I don't really know how to respond I apologize I'm not a lawyer. I'm doing the best I can here with trying to say that we should be treating addiction as a disease just like we do with mental illness and it should have the same compassion. that's all I'm saying. thanks.
There is a high correlation between drugs and offenses. Here in the UK estimates are that there are upwards of 300,000 individuals addicted to heroin/crack, and that to fund these habits requires roughly 30,000 a year. The article that posits these stats actually suggests multiplying this number by three since stolen goods will only return a quarter of their original value.
Estimates include the total cost of stolen goods to be £2 - £2.5 billion each year.
Although there are a number of sociological factors underlying drug abuse, and until these are remedied there will be no short supply of drug-related crime.
In essence, the origin point for many of the crimes is not the drugs themselves but the underlying factors which push many to seek refuge in drugs.
Absolutely! It's crucial to not demonise those who are in need of assistance. The statistics don't reveal the truth in of themselves.
For instance the stats I provided in my post could be balanced with the stats of those who turn to drugs in the first place due to factors like socioeconomic status.
@Daniel Sumner socioeconomic status is a big factor...racial disparity...lots of factors. Our society isn't perfect....
"Public perceptions and beliefs about mental and substance use disorders are influenced by knowledge about these disorders, the degree of contact or experience that one has had with people with mental and substance use disorders, and media portrayal of people with mental and substance use disorders, as well as media coverage of tragic events, notably gun violence and suicide (Swanson et al., 2015). Public perceptions are also strongly influenced by social norms concerning the attribution of cause, or blame, for mental and substance use disorders, and the perceived dangerousness or unpredictability of people with these disorders. Race, ethnicity, and culture are embedded in social relationships and as such play a role in shaping attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors....
People with substance use disorders are considered even more dangerous and unpredictable than those with schizophrenia or depression (Schomerus et al., 2011). In a survey conducted in the United States (Link et al., 1997), a vast majority of respondents considered it likely for a cocaine- or alcohol-dependent person to hurt others. People are less likely to endorse the stereotype of violence if they have had direct contact with people who have mental and substance use disorders and have not experienced violent acts by people with these disorders (Jorm and Reavley, 2014).
Stereotypes of dangerousness can influence public policy in terms of restricting the rights of persons with behavioral disorders (Pescosolido et al., 1999). In the current context of the increasing frequency of mass shootings in the United States (Blair and Schweit, 2013), beliefs about the dangerousness of persons with mental illness and substance use disorders have come to the forefront in public policy debates. To inform these debates, a review of epidemiological findings related to mental illness, gun violence, and suicide found that there is a greater relative risk of violence in people with mental illness than those without mental illness, but the risk is actually very small. The risk of violence is greater for people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, co-occurring substance use disorder, and those exposed to certain socioeconomic factors, such as poverty, crime victimization, early life trauma, and a high neighborhood crime rate (Swanson et al., 2015).
@Eve Fritz That's a fantastic review of the current thinking on stereotypes and the public perception of those with mental illness and drug-related issues. It's fascinating that you point out how by actively engaging with those with these issues, one is less likely to adhere to rigid stereotypes.
This shrewd observation reminds me of the book 'Stigma' by the late great sociologist Erving Goffman. He differentiates between the 'own' and the 'wise' (Goffman, pg 31). The own in this context are those who share the same stigmatizing behavior and thus understand the individual because of this share experience. The 'wise' on the other hand are sympathetic individuals who become accepted by the community of stigmatized individuals due to their becoming part of the group by either offering support or else related to someone who shares the behavior.
Much of public opinion and fear, I think, is not just a passing awareness of the statistics involved but of the more pressing need to explain uncertainty. If we can explain crime by a severe moral failing, then it makes us feel safer somehow as if we ourselves could never act in such away. Plus simple answers make us feel better that the world is still functioning according to normal rules and those who are mentally ill or turn to drugs are just aberrations in an otherwise ordered cosmos.
Thanks for sharing those studies and providing such a great review of stereotyping behavior. I can't wait to delve into the articles you've provided.
Alcohol and drug abuse can both lead to criminal behavior and can be used as a coping mechanism by those who have a history of crime.
Thank you for your answear! I also believe that criminal behaviour is used as a coping mechanism.
They certainly do. Substance use itself is a criminal act (with alcohol and sometimes marijuana being exceptions. There are also many, many people who commit crimes while under the influence. In my professional experience, especially assaults and robbery. It is also a factor that many people commit crimes to get access to money for drugs or drugs themselves.