Drug Abuse and Crime
University of Phoenix
This report focuses on the overwhelming problems related to the abuse of drugs in America. Problems include drug addiction; vandalism and destructive behavior; rape and other sexual offenses; gang-related violence; drug trafficking; vehicular accidents and injuries and other violent and property crimes. This report will discuss the correlation between drug abuse and crime and the challenges crime has on our society how drug use is affecting our youth. The primary sources of information for this report are the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Statistics and the author’s empirical perspectives. This report also uses data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.
Drug Abuse and Crime
Over 14 million people, age 12 and over, currently use illicit drugs, and the availability of illicit drugs remains high. (Coombs and Ziedonis) Despite the high social and personal costs associated with mood altering drugs, drug abuse remains firmly ingrained in the United States of America, which appears to becoming a chemically dependent society. In America, with current problems of poverty, racism, domestic violence, hopelessness, and despair, alcohol and drug abuse is a part of an enduring cycle of economic and psychological turmoil. A drug is a chemical agent that affects the function of living things. (Encyclopedia Britannica 2008) There are many types of drugs: prescription drugs; over-the-counter drugs (OTC); illegal chemical substances and social drugs (alcohol). Medical professionals prescribe drugs to treat or prevent an illness and to relieve pain and discomfort. Prescription drugs and OTC drugs should be taken as directed and used for their intended purposes to be successful in improving the health and wellbeing. For this paper the definition for illegal chemical substances are street drugs such as cocaine, heroin, crack, marijuana, date rape drugs (Rohypnol and GHB) and alcohol. Although acceptable in society, alcohol (according to the 12-step program of Narcotics Anonymous) is a drug.
Drug use is no longer restricted to the at-risk inner-city neighborhoods, people with low economic status, or members of a particular minority group. Neighborhoods that are poverty-stricken have a higher incidence of drug induced crimes and violence. During the current economic crisis, jobs are evaporating, people are losing their homes, and the gap between the rich and poor is rapidly increasing. Many neighborhoods suffer from the “broken window theory.” (Kelling & Wilson, March 1982) The broken window theory suggests that neighborhoods that show signs of deterioration become vulnerable for criminal activity. A broken window in a building or home, that if left unattended signals that no one, cares. It will soon become an “abandominium” for activities such as drug users, squatters, and prostitutes. The neighborhood will display a negative portrait to the residents and outsiders looking in. When the neighborhood takes on the I-don’t-care-attitude, it slowly becomes a crime-ridden environment. Illegal and legal drug abuse contributes to the violent and property crimes in these neighborhoods. Drug Abuse (or substance abuse) is the uninterrupted use of mood altering chemical substances, typically illegal chemical substances that results in the impairment of the mental, physical, behavior, and social destruction of the user, the loved ones of the user and society. Drug abuse includes many legally prescribed drugs not taken as prescribed. Patients taking medication for pain relief or discomfort are vulnerable to becoming drug abusers and addicted. The prescribed medicines are usually Schedule II drugs (substances with a high potential for abuse) such as Percodan, Demoral and Codeine....