Drug Use and Delinquency

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There is an evident link between juvenile drug use and delinquency. A 2008 study explored the connection between delinquency and the use of nonmedical prescription drugs in teens. As prescription drug abuse is on the rise in America its abuse has not left out a crucial group of people; adolescents. “The findings of this study indicate that nonmedical prescription drug use is significantly associated with self-reported delinquency as well as self-reported arrest” (Ford, 2008). The article discusses the sociological and psychological contributors to delinquency and drug use while focusing on the new trend of prescription drug use. The abuse of prescription drugs as well as other illicit drugs is usually triggered by social and psychological disorders that are only worsened by the drug use. “Delinquency and substance use are both based on a common set of risk factors, for example low self-control” (Ford, 2008).

A second study conducted and published in 2009 correlates the use of drugs by juveniles and delinquency. The illicit drug cocaine was the focus of the study and the findings were that the longer and more often the adolescents used the higher the range of crimes they participated in. A table was created mapping the frequency of drug use and self reported delinquency over one year. The table shows that the juveniles progressively committed more crimes (self reportedly) the longer they used. The article reminds us how at risk teens are more likely to fall to either drug use or delinquency, and the other will most likely follow. One characteristic of at risk teens mentioned in the article are the teens that have “a tendency to come from families that experienced a number of difficulties in psychosocial functioning” (Dembo, Sullivan, 2009).
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