The Relationship Between Substance Abuse and Crime

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Sherwanda Rogers
Professor Janet Michello
Drugs & Behavior: SCH150. 6782
LaGuardia Community College
Paper #2: The Relationship Between Substance Abuse and Crime December 11, 2012

Do you know someone who has done drugs? Well of course you do, we all do. Drugs are defined as “a substance that has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body”, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Researchers are focusing their attention on the aspect of drug addiction and drug abuse. Creating an outlet to drug awareness is the government’s ultimate goal in aiding families and individuals who are suffering. Unfortunately, drug abuse and drug addiction are extremely common among today’s society. “Criminality and substance abuse have long been linked. Criminal acts can range from activities such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, domestic violence, robberies, assaults, prostitution and rape. The manufacturing or distribution of illegal drugs such as methamphetamine or cannabis and the use of such drugs are also serious acts punishable by the law.” Drug abuse is a disorder that is characterized by a detrimental pattern of utilizing a substance, which leads to major problems in a person’s life. In the United States of America, twenty-five percent of the total number of deaths are attributed to drug abuse. Behavioral characteristics of users also vary depending upon drug of choice. “All drugs are not the same and some have greater likelihood to be related to violent crime than others.” Not all drug users are or become addicted. Drug addiction, however, is a disease that is represented by a disastrous pattern of drug abuse, which leads to major problems involving tolerance or withdrawal from the specific substance being used. Statistics clearly connect crime and substance abuse. The use of alcohol and drugs by young people, in today’s society, poses many risks.

Throughout history, the task of defining the word addiction has become so complex, and has challenged physicians, judges, clergy, addicts, their families, and the rest of the world. The difference between addictions and the formulation of habits are that habits are done by choice, and addictions are uncontrollable. People with addictions do not have control over what they are doing, taking, or using. Addiction can refer to a substance dependence, such as a drug or alcohol addiction, or to a behavioral addiction, such as a gambling or shopping addiction. So what is it that causes a person to become addicted, you may ask. “Doctors say that there is a link between the repeated use of an addictive substance and how the human brain experiences pleasure - its use has a nice reward, leading to further and more frequent use.” Drug abuse and drug addiction are not based on causality, however, there are a number of various factors which contribute to a person becoming abusive or addicted to a drug. Drug addicts account for about 527,000 emergency rooms for treatment in one year. Based on research, many scientists believe that a deficiency of dopamine is the connecting link to what makes a person become addicted. “There is no test that indicates if someone is a drug addict, therefore, health care physicians “diagnose” a drug addiction by gathering information about an individual’s medical, family, and mental health.” This is where statistical information and surveys come into play and can be extremely useful and helpful.

The connection between drugs and domestic violence presents a strong link. Almost eighty percent of domestic violence crimes have a connection to drugs. Domestic violence may be defined as one or more types of assault; including physical, emotional, sexual, mental, verbal, psychological, relational, and spiritual. Domestic violence may be related to drug addiction in some families. It involves an effort to control another person by force, coercion, or intimidation. Domestic violence is accounted for almost...
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