Drugs and Crime.
Drugs are related to crime in multiple ways. Most obviously because it is a crime to use, possess, manufacture, or distribute classified drugs. Cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and amphetamines (a synthetic, addictive, mood-altering drug, used illegally as a stimulant) are examples of drugs classified to have abuse potential. Drugs are also related to crime through the effects they have on the user’s behaviour and by generating violence and other illegal activity in connection with drug trafficking. The following information summarizes the various ways that drugs and crime are related.
Do offenders often commit offenses to support their drug habit?
Another dimension of drug-related crime is whether the offense is committed to obtain money to support drug use. Some research studies have found that a lot of acquisitive crime (theft) is committed by dependent users of heroin and crack cocaine trying to pay for their drugs. Some show a high proportion of people arrested for a range of offences testing positive for drug use. It has been suggested that one third to over a half of all acquisitive crime is related to illegal drug use. This can all seem very frightening and has often been sensationalised in the media. The picture given may be exaggerated for a number of reasons:
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.
Victims of Drug Related Crime
Millions of people each year are victims of alcohol or drug related crime, especially thousands of young people.
Each year, more than 600,000 students...
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