DRUG ADDICTION AND ALCOHOLISM CAUSES CRIMES : AN ANALYSIS
Chapter-1 INTRODUCTION 1-16
1. Reasons For Addiction
2. Drugs And Crime Relationship
3. Drug-Defined Offenses-
4 Substance Use Leads To Crime
5 Crime Leads To Substance Use
6 The Relationship Is Due To Common Causes
8 Drug Addiction In Relation To Crime
Chapter-2 ILLEGAL DRUG USE AND CRIME 17-49
1. Illegal Drug Use And Crime
2. Link Between The Legal Status
3. Foreign Data
4. Theoretical Models
5. Economic-Compulsive Link
6. Systemic Link
7. Profile Of A Group Of Marijuana Users
Chapter-3 DRUG USE, CRIME, AND 50-64
2. Drug Abuse Treatment
3. Why Family Support Is Critical
4. More Treatment Is Needed
5. Treatment Principles: An Overview
6. Where To Get Treatment Information
7. Drug/Alcohol Addiction In India – Disturbing Trend
8. Fact–Drug Arrests
Chapter-4 ALCOHOL USE IN ADOLESCENCE 65-92
1. What Is The Question
2. Increased Risks Of Crime
3. Increased Risks Of Sexual Risk Taking Privacy And
5. Implications For Future Policy
9. Addiction And The Criminal Justice System
Drugs are blessed discoveries for the safety and well being of members of the society and not to cause any harm to any of its members but it is abused worldwide. Drug means any substance that, when taken into the living organism, may modify one or more of its functions.1 The Australian Drug Foundation has defined drugs as ‘Any substance which changes the way the body or mind functions’.2
In common usage, the term often refers specifically to psychoactive drugs, and often, even more specifically, to illicit drugs, of which there is non-medical use in addition to any medical use.3 Drug-taking can be legal or illegal. The caffeine in coffee and tea is a licit drug and is unregulated. Alcohol is licit, as is tobacco, but both are more heavily regulated. Prescription drugs like benzodiazepine (sleeping pills) and steroids are licit when prescribed but illicit if used by someone without a prescription. Cannabis is illicit, although in several states there are expiation schemes which allow those charged with some possession offences to avoid having the conviction placed on their criminal record; thus, payment of a fine ‘expiates’ (atones for) the violation of the law. Heroin, ecstasy, hallucinogens, and others are also illicit drugs.4
Drug abuse arises out of a maladaptive pattern of substance use, manifested by recurrent and significant adverse consequences related to the repeated intake of the substance. These problems must occur recurrently during the same 12 months period. The criteria do not
1 Taber’s cyclopedic medical dictionary. 17th ed. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company; 1993. Drug; p.578.
2 Crime Prevention and Community Safety Learning Circles – Drug related crime Online. cited 2012 Sep 21; Available from: http://www.crimeprevention.gov.au/Informationresources/Documents/Drug_related_crime_Module.pdf
3 Lexicon of alcohol and drug terms published by the World Health Organization Online. cited 2012 Sep 21; Available from: http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/terminology/who_lexicon/en/
4 Reddy KSN. The essentials of forensic medicine and toxicology. 26th ed. Hyderabad: Medical Book Company; 2007.
include tolerance, withdrawal, or a pattern of compulsive use, and instead include only the harmful consequences of repeated use. Drug abuse can lead to drug dependence or addiction. Drug dependence arises out of a maladaptive pattern of substance use, leading to a cluster of behavioral, cognitive and psychological phenomenon that develops after repeated intake. It includes a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal state. It includes both the terms “addiction” and “habituation”. Addiction defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsion to take a drug (craving) resulting in physical, psychological and social harm, and continued use despite evidence of that harm.4 Drug habituation is a condition resulting from the repeated consumption of a drug, in which there is psychological or emotional dependency on the drug.4
REASONS FOR ADDICTION
There are a wide range of reasons why people use drugs. For example, it may help them to cope with problems, while stopping might lead to unpleasant effects. There may also be things happening within the family or community that are contributing to the person’s drug use.5 Many cases of drug or alcohol addicts arise after apparent failure in business or professional life.6 Some people may not even be sure why they use drugs.
Dopamine receptors within the brain are affected by drug use and dopamine floods the individual with desirable emotions, rewarding for substance use.7Once dopamine’s relationship to reward was discovered, dopamine was thought to be heavily involved as the reason for addiction. Upon initial use of a psychotropic substance, such as amphetamine or
5 Problem drug use Online. cited 2012 Sep 24; Available from: http://www.mhfa.com.au/documents/guidelines/8307_AMHFA_probdrug_guidelinesemail.pdf
6 6. Sharma HR, Mohan D. Drug abuse in India: prevalence, pattern, policy and prevention. Social Defence 1981;XVI( 63):63.
7 Pinel JPJ. Biopsychology. 7th ed. Boston: MA. Pearson Education Inc.; 2009.
cocaine, changes occur within the brain, influencing a cycle of addiction. Cognitive functioning affects whether or not someone initially tries an illicit substance. Once affected by the drug, brain chemistry is altered to perpetuate additional use. There are various cognitive variables that are common to drug abusers, such as poor decision making, high risk taking and lack of self control.
Contrary to the reward hypothesis of dopamine is that even after an addict does not experience the same high as the first initial use, the addict continues in pursuit of the drug. In addition, although many people try various drugs, not all become addicted. If the underlying reason is reward alone, all who experiment should become addicts.
According to incentive sensitization theories, a person may have (affecting internal anticipation of reward from a drug), mixed with the reward potential of their drug of choice. Different drugs have varying potential for addiction and people do not respond to the same drug in the same way. Anticipated reward or cravings can be difficult to control. A person may experience conditioned pleasure reinforcement and have higher cravings for drugs in certain environments or around people with whom they have used drugs before.8
According to legal definition, crime is any form of conduct which is declared to be socially harmful in a State and as such forbidden by law under pain of some punishment.9
DRUGS AND CRIME RELATIONSHIP
Relationship between drug and crime is multidimensional. Most directly, it is a crime to use, possess, manufacture, or distribute drugs classified as having a potential for abuse such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and amphetamines. Drugs are also related to crime through the effects they have on the user’s behavior and by generating violence and other
8 The relationship between substance abuse and crime in Idaho Online. 2010 Cited 2010 Sep 24; Available from: http://www.isp.idaho.gov/pgr/Research/documents/drugsandcrime.pdf
9 Paranjape NV.14th ed. Central law publications, 2010.
illegal activity in connection with drug trafficking. For example, drug-related homicide can include murders related to drug distribution, murders committed while using drugs, murders committed in the act of a crime to get money for drugs, or murders that simply occur in high-drug-use neighborhoods. However, it is difficult to count offenses of violent behavior resulting from drug effects, stealing to buy drugs, or violence associated with the drug trade as much of what transpires is undocumented.
Thus for the following reasons drug abuse- crime relationship should be interpreted cautiously-
most crimes result from a variety of factors (personal, situational, cultural, economic), so even when drugs are a cause, they are likely to be only one factor among many
meaning of “drug-related” varies from study to study; some studies interpret the mere presence of drugs as having causal relevance while other studies interpret the relationship more narrowly
reports by offenders about their drug use may exaggerate or minimize the relevance of drugs; drug use measures, such as urinalysis that identifies only very recent drug use, are limited.
The following scheme summarizes the various ways that drugs and crime are related10-
Violations of laws prohibiting or regulating the possession, distribution, production, manufacture illegal drugs. Eg Drug possession or use, Marijuana cultivation. Methamphetamine production.Cocaine, heroin, or marijuana sales.
10 10. Fact Sheet: Drug-Related Crime Online. 1994 cited 2012 Sep 25; Available from: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/DRRC.PDF
Offenses in which a drug’s pharmacologic effects contribute; offenses motivated by the user’s need for money to support continued use; and offenses connected to drug distribution itself.Eg.- Violent behavior resulting from drug effects. Stealing to get money to buy drugs.Violence against rival drug dealers.
Drug use and crime are common aspects of a deviant lifestyle. The likelihood and frequency of involvement in illegal activity is increased because drug users may not participate in the legitimate economy and are exposed to situations that encourage crime. Eg.-A life orientation with emphasis on short term goals supported by illegal activities.Opportunities to offend resulting from contacts with offenders and illegal markets. Criminal skills learn from other offenders.
Theories that explain the relationship between drug use and crime
There are three basic explanatory models for the relationship between drug use and crime11:
(1) Substance use leads to crime,
(2) Crime leads to substance use, and
(3) The relationship is either coincidental or explained by a set of common causes.
SUBSTANCE USE LEADS TO CRIME
One causal model posits that alcohol and drug use lead to crime because of the psychopharmacological properties of drugs, the economic motivation to get drugs, or the systemic violence associated with the illegal drug market.12
11 White HR.The drug use-delinquency connection in adolescence. In: Weisheit R editor. Drugs, crime, and criminal justice. Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Company; 1990.
The psychopharmacological model proposes that the effects of intoxication such as disinhibition, cognitive-perceptual distortions, attention deficits, bad judgment, and neurochemical changes, cause criminal (especially violent) behavior.1314 Chronic intoxication, due to factors such as withdrawal, sleep deprivation, nutritional deficits, impairment of neuropsychological functioning, or enhancement of psychopathologic personality disorders, may also contribute to subsequent aggression and crime.15
This model has gained greater support in the alcohol literature than in literature about other drugs. Numerous biological and neuropsychological mechanisms have been proffered to explain how alcohol use increases the risk of violence.16171819There is some research to indicate that chronic use of marijuana, opiates, and amphetamines increases the risk of violent behavior. No conclusive evidence supports a direct association between cocaine use and violence. As well, there has been no evidence (except anecdotal and small samples) that acute use of PCP (phencyclidine) and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is associated with violent behavior, except when use enhances already existing psychopathology.20 It is also possible that drug and alcohol use may interact to affect violent behavior.21
12 12. Goldstein PJ. The drugs/violence nexus: A tripartite conceptual framework. Journal of Drug Issues. 1985;15(Fall):493–506.
13 Collins JJ editor. Drinking and crime. New York: Guilford Publications; 1981.
14 Fagan J. Intoxication and aggression. In: Tonry M, Wilson JQ editors. Crime and justice: A review of research, Vol. 13: Drugs and crime. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1990.
15 Virkkunen M, Linnoila M. Brain serotonin, type II alcoholism, and impulsive violence. Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 1993,Sep: 163–9.
16 White HR. Alcohol, illicit drugs, and violence. In: Stoff DM, Breiling J, Maser JD editors. Handbook of antisocial behavior. New York: John Wiley & Sons; 1997.
17 Miczek KA, DeBold JF, Haney M, Tidey J, Vivian J, Weerts EM. Alcohol, drugs of abuse, aggression, and violence. In Reiss AJ, Roth JA editors. Understanding and preventing violence, Vol. 3. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press; 1994.
18 Pihl RO, Peterson JB, Lau MA. A biosocial model of the alcohol-aggression relationship. Journal of Studies on Alcohol.1993, September:128–39.
19 Parker RN, Kathleen A. Drugs, alcohol, and homicide: Issues in theory and research. In: Smith MD, Zahn MA editors. A sourcebook of social research. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications; 1999.
20 Parker RN, Kathleen A. Alcohol, drugs, and violence. Annual Review of Sociology.1998;24:291–311.
21 Denison ME, Paredes A, Booth JB. Alcohol and cocaine interactions and aggressive behaviors. In: Marc G editor. Recent developments in alcoholism, volume 13: Alcohol and violence. New York: Plenum Press; 1997.
In sum, the psychopharmacological model appears relevant for explaining a potential causal relationship between alcohol and violence among adults but little of the relationship between drugs and crime.
The economic motivation model assumes that drug users need to generate illicit income to support their drug habit. Thus, they engage in crimes such as robbery, burglary, and prostitution to get drugs or the money to buy them. Support for the economic motivation model comes from literature on heroin addicts, which indicates that raising or lowering the frequency of substance use among addicts raises or lowers their frequency of crime, especially property crime.222324
Studies in the 1970s found that more female drug users were prostitutes than were drug dealers25, as crack selling became profitable, some women gave up prostitution in favor of dealing. Still, many women who use crack continue to be heavily involved in prostitution26, and the economic motive is clear.
The major illegal activity for heroin-cocaine users is drug distribution.27 Studies consistently show that crack users are heavily involved in dealing, but they are also involved in nondrug criminality.2829
22 Nurco DN, Shaffer JC, Ball JC, Kinlock WT. Trends in the commission of crime among narcotic addicts over successive periods of addiction. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.1984;10:481–9.
23 Chaiken JM., Chaiken MR. Drugs and predatory crime. In: Tonry M, Wilson JQ editors. Crime and justice: A review of research, Vol. 13: Drugs and crime. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1990.
24 Anglin MD, Perrochet B. 1998. Drug use and crime: A historical review of research conducted by the UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center. Substance Use & Misuse. 1998; 33:1871–914.
25 Erickson GP, Watson VA. Women, illicit drugs, and crime. In Kozlowski LT, Annis HM, Cappell HD, Glaser FB, Goodstadt MS, Israel Y, Kalant H, Sellers EM, Vingilis ER, editors. Research advances in alcohol and drug problems, Vol. 10. New York: Plenum Press; 1990.
26 Fagan J. 1994. Women and drugs revisited: Female participation in the cocaine economy. Journal of Drug Issues. 1994;24:179–225.
27 Lipton DS, Johnson BD. Smack, crack, and score: Two decades of NIDA-funded drugs and crime research at NDRI, 1974–1994. Substance Use & Misuse. 1998;33: 1779–815.
28 Johnson BD, Natarajan M, Dunlap E, Elmoghazy E. Crack abusers and noncrack abusers: Profiles of drug use, drug sales, and nondrug criminality. Journal of Drug Issues. 1994;24:117–41.
29 Inciardi JA, Pottieger AE. Crack-cocaine use and street crime. Journal of Drug Issues. 1994;24:273–92.
The systemic model posits that the system of drug distribution and use is inherently connected with violent crime. Systemic types of crimes in relation to drug distribution include fights over organizational and territorial issues, enforcement of rules, punishments of and efforts to protect buyers and sellers, and transaction-related crimes such as robberies of dealers or buyers, assaults to collect debts, and resolution of disputes over quality or amount. Drug markets can create community disorganization, which, in turn, affects the norms and behaviors of individuals who live in the community. Such community disorganization may be associated with increases in crime that are not directly related to drug selling.30
This model probably accounts for most of the current violence related to illicit drug use, especially drug-related homicides.313233 Goldstein (1997) suggested that at any given time, systemic violence is associated with whatever drug is most popular.34 Overall, the results of these studies suggest that deviant individuals are attracted to drug selling, rather than that drug selling causes individuals to become criminals.
CRIME LEADS TO SUBSTANCE USE
This model is based on the assumption that deviant individuals are more likely than non deviant individuals to select or be pushed into social situations and subcultures in which heavy drinking and drug use are condoned or encouraged.
30 Blumstein A. Youth violence, guns and the illicit-drug industry. In Block C, Block R, editors. Trends, risks, and interventions in lethal violence: Proceedings of the third annual spring symposium of the Homicide Research Working Group, Research Report, NCJ 154254. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice; 1995.
31 Fagan J, Chin Ko-lin. Violence as regulation and social control in the distribution of crack. In: Rosa M De La, Lambert EY, Gropper B, editors. Drugs and violence: Causes, correlates and consequences, Research Monograph 103. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Drug Abuse; 1990.
32 Skogan WG. Disorder and decline: Crime and the spiral of decay in American neighborhoods. Berkeley: University of California Press; 1990.
33 Goldstein PJ, Brownstein HH, Ryan PJ, Bellucci PA. Crack and homicide in New York City, 1988: A conceptually based event analysis. Contemporary Drug Problems.1989;16(Winter):651–87.
34 Goldstein PJ. 1997. The relationship between drugs and violence in the United States of America. World drug report: United Nations International Drug Control Program. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1997.
For example, rather than the need for a drug compelling an individual to commit robbery, the income generated from a robbery might provide the individual with extra money to secure drugs and therefore place the individual in an environment that supports drug use.35
It has also been suggested that several aspects of the professional criminal lifestyle are conducive to heavy drinking and drug use, such as working periodically, partying between jobs, being unmarried, and being geographically mobile.36 In addition, it has been proposed that deviant individuals may use drugs in order to self-medicate37 or to give themselves an excuse to act in a deviant manner.38
It is also possible that both of the above models are correct and that the relationship between substance use and crime is reciprocal. That is, substance use and crime may be causally linked and mutually reinforcing. For example, when an addict has an easy opportunity to commit robbery, he or she will commit it and then buy drugs with the money gained, not out of a compulsion but rather as consumer expenditure. Conversely, when the need for drugs is great, users will commit crimes to get money to buy drugs.
THE RELATIONSHIP IS DUE TO COMMON CAUSES
The common cause model postulates that substance use and crime are related because they share common causes such as genetic or temperamental traits, antisocial personality disorder, parental alcoholism, and poor relations with parents.39
35 Collins JJ, Hubbard RL, Rachal JV. Expensive drugs use and illegal income: A test of explanatory hypotheses. Criminology. 1985;23:743–64.
36 Collins JJ, Messerschmidt PM. Epidemiology of alcohol-related violence. Alcohol Health and Research World. 1993;17:93–100.
37 Khantzian EJ. The self-medication hypothesis of addictive disorders: Focus on heroin and cocaine dependence. American Journal of Psychiatry. 1985;142(November): 1259–64.
38 Collins JJ. Drinking and violence: An individual offender focus. In: Martin SE editor. Alcohol and interpersonal violence: Fostering multidisciplinary perspectives. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health; 1993.
39 Goldstein PJ. Getting over: Economic alternatives to predatory crime among street drug users. In: Inciardi JA editor. The drugs-crime connection. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications; 1981.
In addition, drug use and crime may have common environmental and situational causes. Research shows, for example, that rates of violent crime and delinquency are high in neighborhoods that are poor, densely populated, racially segregated, and composed of a transient population.40414243 Social disorganization and lack of social capital appear to be the crucial mechanisms linking these structural characteristics to crime.
Thus it is obvious that a single model cannot account for the drug-crime relationship among all people. For some individuals the acute, and possibly chronic, cognitive effects of some drugs, such as alcohol, increase the propensity toward criminal behaviors. For others, involvement in deviant behavior weakens bonds to conventional norms and increases involvement in deviant subcultures that provide opportunities and reinforcement for increased deviant behavior, including drug use. Finally, for others, probably a majority, biopsychological factors (e.g., temperament) and early parent-child interactions, in combination with socioenvironmental factors, increase the risk for involvement in all types of deviant behavior.
THE SCALE OF THE DRUG ABUSE AND CRIME PROBLEM
Provisional data for 1991 show that among adult respondents (ages 18–49), those who use cannabis (marijuana) or cocaine were much more likely to commit crimes of all types than those who did not use these substances.44 Methamphetamine users were significantly
40 White HR. The drug use-delinquency connection in adolescence. In: Weisheit R editor. Drugs, crime, and criminal justice. Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Company; 1990.
41 White HR, Brick J, Hansell S. A longitudinal investigation of alcohol use and aggression in adolescence. Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 1993, September: 62–77.
42 Bursik RJ. 1988. Social disorganization and theories of crime and delinquency: Problems and prospects.
43Sampson RJ, Raudenbush SW, Earls F. Neighborhoods and violent crime: A multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science. 1997;277:918–24.
44Deitch D, Koutsenok I, Ruiz A. Relationship Between Crime and Drugs. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. 2000;32(4):391-7.
more likely than heroin users to have committed violent crime.45 Study indicates that in comparison with other drug users, meth users are more likely to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol at the time of arrest.46 In the U.S. several jurisdictions have reported that benzodiazepine misuse by criminal detainees has surpassed that of opiates.47
The Columbia Center for Drug Studies estimated that in the 1990s the population of inmates needing drug treatment grew significantly. In 1996, 900,000 inmates in a prison population of 1,300,000 (69%) were in need of some form of drug treatment. The percentage of men who are testing positive for drugs at the time of arrest in various cities ranges from 60% to 80% for any drug in major metropolises. The percentage of women testing positive for drugs at the time of their arrest has been skyrocketing in the last eight years, and has risen to between 60% and 70%. The percentage of juveniles testing positive for drugs at the time of arrest is 60% to 70%. Depending on the location, the most common drug youths test positive for is marijuana (50% to 60%). However, methamphetamine and cocaine continue to gain strength: 4% to 14% of juveniles tested positive for these drugs in 1998 (National Center on Addictions and Substance Abuse 1998).48
The international ADAM (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Monitoring) data reveals that in London over 60% of all arrests were associated with any drug: 10% of these arrests were for amphetamine, 40% for marijuana, close to 20% were for opiates, 10% for cocaine and 8% were for methadone1 (U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice 1999).4950
45 Darke S, Torok M, Kaye S, Ross J &McKetin R. Comparative rates of violent crime among regular methamphetamine and opioid users: Offending and victimization. Addiction. 2010;105(5):916-9.
46 Gizzi MC, Gerkin P. Methamphetamine use and criminal behavior. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. 2010;54(6),915-36.
47 Yacoubian GS. Correlates of benzodiazepine use among a sample of arrestees surveyed through the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program. Substance Use & Misuse. 2003;38(1):127–39.
48 National Center on Addictions and Substance Abuse. Behind Bars: Substance Abuse and America’s Prison Population. New York: National Center on Addictions and Substance Abuse; 1998.
49 U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. 1998 Drug Use Forecasting: Annual Report on Adult and Juvenile Arrestees, Research Report. Washington D.C.: U.S. GPO; 1999.
In Brazil, drug-related violence is a particularly serious national challenge that has a negative impact on communities. Of almost 30,000 homicides registered annually, a high proportion are linked to drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking. Street children play an important part in this illicit market, acting as couriers for drug traffickers, and are frequently killed because they know too much, steal too much or are caught in the crossfire between gangs and dealers.51 Also in Latin America and the Caribbean, a survey conducted by the World Bank on youth gangs and violence indicated that youth gangs involved in drug trafficking generally displayed higher levels of violence than those not involved in such
Scope for crime and violence is enhanced because of the economic opportunities provided to criminal groups by illicit drug markets, as criminals compete for a share of those markets; that, in turn, may have dire consequences for the local community. Rivalries between local drug dealers and traffickers can develop into violent confrontations in and around public places and, as a result, make such places “no-go areas” for the general public. Communities may become dependent on local illicit drug markets that support whole economies. Thus both are unable and unwilling to challenge the status quo. The authorities themselves may also be in no position to challenge violent drug-related crime in certain communities, as they too are at risk of violence or they have been influenced by corruption and are consequently in a state of inertia.
The stress, anxiety and fear generated by exposure to crime and violence, interfere with the daily lives and normal developmental progress of people particularly young people: for
50 Andrews DA, Bonta J. 1998. The Psychology of Criminal Conduct. 2nd ed. Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Co; 1998.
51 Drugs, crime and violence: the microlevel impact Online. 2003 cited 2012 Sep 27; Available from: http://www.incb.org/pdf/e/ar/2003/incb_report_2003_1.pdf
example, their ability to trust and have a sense of personal safety; their ability to develop skills to control their emotions; their freedom to explore the local environment; and their ability to form “normal” social relationships.
Thus the social harm caused to communities by the involvement of both adults and young people in drug-related crime and violence is immense. The very fabric of society is challenged by the continued presence in communities of drug-related crime.
DRUG ADDICTION IN RELATION TO CRIME
One of the compelling reasons why more rational methods of dealing with drug addicts must be devised is the close relationship between drug addiction and crime. The compulsion for the drug makes every drug addict a law violator and a criminal. Mere possession of a narcotic drug which the addict must have to ward off withdrawal distress is a violation of the narcotic laws. Thus, every drug addict is subject to arrest by the police, and as we have seen, the arrests of addicts and of narcotic law violators have gone up by leaps and bounds. Addicts guilty of no other crime than illegal possession of narcotics are filling the jails, prisons and penitentiaries of the country.
However, this is only a part of the distressing picture of the relationship between narcotic addiction and criminality. For most narcotic addicts, predatory crime (larceny, shoplifting, sneak thievery, burglary, embezzlement, robbery, etc.), is a necessary way of life. This was clearly recognized by the law enforcement officials who appeared before the Congressional Committees and gave testimony concerning the close relationship between property crime and drug addiction in their communities. These officials were convinced that property crimes could be reduced materially if all drug addicts could be incarcerated.
The New York University and the Chicago studies on drug addiction support the notion that drug addiction necessarily leads to predatory crime as a way of life. For example,
Chein and Rosenfeld make the following comments based on their studies of juvenile addicts: “Drug use leads to a criminal way of life. The illegality of purchase and possession of opiates and similar drugs makes a drug user a delinquent ipso facto. The high cost of heroin, the drug generally used by juvenile users, also forces specific delinquency against property for cash returns. The average addicted youngster spends almost forty dollars a week on drugs, often as much as seventy dollars. He is too young and unskilled to be able to support his habit by his earnings. The connection between drug use and delinquency for profit has been established beyond any doubt.”56 A Chicago study comes to a similar conclusion: “…Almost without exception addicts resort to theft to obtain money for the purchase of the drugs. The compulsion of the addiction itself coupled with the astronomically high cost of heroin leads the addict inescapably to crime. For the addict there is very simply no alternative.”57 There has been considerable debate as to whether the criminality of the addict preceded or is merely a consequence of the drug addiction. Studies like those of Pescor can be cited for the proposition that most narcotic addicts became delinquents and criminals after the onset of their addiction. Pescor found in 1943. that of the 1,036 patients at Lexington, studied by him, 75.3% had no history of delinquency prior to addiction.58 Anslinger, however, has the always taken the view that the drug addict was usually a criminal first before becoming addicted.59 The answer to the question of whether the addict was a delinquent or criminal prior to addiction largely depends upon the particular groups of addicts studied. For example, Kolb60, in 1928, studied a group of 119 so called “medical addicts”, persons who became addicted to drugs as a result of the prescription of narcotics for ailments other than addiction. Kolb found that of these 119 addicts, 90 had never previously been arrested. However, the studies conducted in New York and Chicago present a different picture. These studies of drug addiction were conducted in areas with high rates of delinquency and crime. They were also concerned with youthful and adolescent offenders. The conclusion from the Chicago and
New York studies is inescapable that “delinquency both preceded and followed addiction to heroin.”61 “Persons who became users,” stated the Chicago report, “were found to have engaged in delinquency in a group habitual form either prior to their use of drugs or simultaneously with their developing interest in drugs. There was little evidence of a consistent sequence from drug use without delinquency to drug use with delinquency.”62 Nevertheless, even in the delinquency areas of our large cities, there are persons who become addicted to drugs without a prior career of delinquency and crime. After addiction, however, they will usually turn to delinquency and crime “often after overcoming severe psychological conflict occasioned by their repugnance to theft.”63 Moreover, the addict who had previously been a delinquent loses all chance of shaking off habits of delinquency and crime as he grows older. Not all non addicted delinquents and adolescent offenders living in the delinquency areas of our large cities grow up to be habitual and professional criminals. Many abandon their delinquent and criminal pursuits when they reach early adulthood. They find jobs, marry and settle down to productive lives. But if the delinquent or adolescent offender adds narcotic addiction to his patterns of behavior, “. ..All possible future retreat from a delinquent mode of life is cut off regardless of whatever later impulses they may have to reject a criminal career in favor of a conventional one. They are constrained by their unremitting need and the high cost of heroin to continue in crime. This interpretation supports the conclusion that drug addiction results in a large and permanent increase in the volume of crime.”64 Thus, the realities of the relationship between narcotic addiction and crime appear to be much more somber than the romantic myth, “that hold-up men, murderers, rapists and other violent criminals take drugs to give them courage or stamina to go through with acts which they might not commit when not drugged.”65 Dr. Kolb has labeled this notion an “absurd fallacy.” The crimes committed by opiate addicts are generally of a parasitic, predatory nonviolent character. Drug addicts may, on occasion, commit violent crimes. This is hardly surprising
since so many are classified as psychopaths. A psychopath tends towards serious criminality with or without drug addiction. Generally, however, the use of opiate drugs (whatever may be the case with marihuana and cocaine) tends to discourage violent crime. As Maurer and Vogel point out: “The sense of well-being and satisfaction with the world are so strong that, coupled with the depressant action of the drug, the individual is unlikely to commit aggressive or violent crime after he is addicted, even though he habitually or professionally did so previous to addiction. In the words of Kolb, ‘Both heroin and morphine in large doses change drunken fighting psychopaths into sober, cowardly, non-aggressive idlers …’ “…To date, there has been no evidence collected to show that any significant percentage of opiate addicts commit violent crimes either professionally or casually while under the influence of these drugs … the reduction or elimination of sexual desire tends to remove the opiate addict from the category of psychopathic sex offenders, even though he might have a tendency to commit sex crimes when not addicted …”66 Since opiate drugs do not act as a stimulant for the commission of violent crime, should not confirmed addicts have a means of obtaining such drugs legally, so that they will not have to engage in crime in order to raise the money necessary for their needs? This basic question goes to the heart of our present policy in dealing with drugs addiction.
ILLEGAL DRUG USE AND CRIME
Illegal drug use is “almost automatically”52 associated with criminal behaviour. The statistical relationship between illegal drug use and crime is convincing at first glance, but it is not possible to draw a conclusion regarding a definite cause-and-effect link between the two phenomena. The suggestion that drugs lead to crime ignores the impact that living conditions can have on an individual and takes no account, according to Serge Brochu (an expert in this field), of a body of data showing that most illegal drug users in Canada and elsewhere will never be regular users. It bears repeating that drug use is still, for the most part, a sporadic, recreational, exploratory activity. Most people are able to manage their drug use without any difficulty. Very few will become regular users, and even fewer will develop a drug addiction.53
Studies of the link between drug use and crime are currently going through a paradigmatic crisis:
The problem stems from three elements: the limits of our current knowledge; practice that does not respect our expertise; and mislabelling of users. Contemporary conceptual models are not based on a cohesive empirical body (e.g., our unrepresentative samples usually comprise drug users heavily involved in crime and very few regular users who hold important positions in society, even though they do exist; we then make broad generalizations
52 The expression is used by Serge Brochu in Drogue etcriminalité. Une relation complexe, Collection perspectives criminologiques, Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1995.
53 “Misleading presuppositions about the way people use drugs are built into contemporary language, which, for example, presupposes that most people who use ‘addictive drugs’ like heroin and cocaine are addicted, or will shortly become so. For this reason the term ‘heroin user’ is often used interchangeably with ‘heroin addict.’ But this presupposition is false … all psychoactive drugs can be used in many ways, of which addiction is only one, and that the ‘addictive drugs’ do not necessarily carry a higher risk of addiction than the rest.” B.K. Alexander, Peaceful Measures. Canada’s Way Out of the War on Drugs, University of Toronto Press, 1990, p. 102.
based on those studies). It is also extremely difficult to incorporate knowledge that conflicts with our deeply held beliefs (e.g., the prospect of careful or controlled use of illegal psychoactive substances). Finally, we continue to apply negative labels to illegal drug users who in the end would rather be known as drug addicts than criminals.54
All that aside, the scientific studies conducted over the past two decades provide evidence which tends to show that drug use is one of a number of factors that may explain why some people commit criminal acts. For example, many people who have developed an addiction to expensive drugs such as heroin and crack/cocaine and cannot afford their habit will commit crimes to buy drugs. However, they do not represent all or even most illegal drug users, especially in the case of marijuana users. In other words, illegal drug use does not necessarily lead to an increase in crime, even among people who are regular users or have developed an addiction. The research shows that a number of social, psychological and cultural factors can be used to identify people who are at risk of becoming delinquents and/or drug users. Factors that may explain both drug use and criminal activity include poverty, lack of social values, personality disorders, association with drug users and/or delinquents, and loss of contact with agents of socialization.55
Indications are that it is wrong to think that eliminating drugs from a person’s day-to-day life will definitely put an end to criminal activity. This realization is important in terms of intervention and policy development, because any explanation of crime which attributes a high importance to drugs may lead to the implementation of ineffective intervention policies.
54 S. Brochu, “Drogues et criminalité : Point de vue critique sur les idéesvéhiculées,” Déviance et société, Vol. 21, No. 3, 1997, pp. 307-308.
55 For Brochu, however, human behaviour cannot be reduced to a set of risk factors. In other words, the mere presence of such risk factors does not necessarily put a person on a path toward drug use and crime. In Brochu’s view, it is important to give the individual his or her rightful place in the drug-crime equation and to recognize the significance the individual ascribes to the actions that shape his or her life. S. Brochu, 1997, p.
Today, although the exact nature of the link between drugs and crime remains uncertain, the scientific literature shows that the drugs-crime connection is much more complex than originally believed.56 This paper contains a review of a number of Canadian and foreign studies dealing with the link between illegal drug use and criminal behaviour.57
It also presents a study of regular marijuana users that establishes a profile of the lives of regular users and their involvement in crime. The goal of this paper is to briefly examine the various links between illegal drug use and crime.
ILLEGAL DRUG USE AND CRIME
This section of the paper briefly presents the various kinds of links between drugs and crime that may explain the coincidence of these two behaviours. The types of crime associated with the legal status of certain drugs are discussed, including possession, production and purchase of illegal drugs – all of which are indictable offences. Three theoretical models, originally proposed by Goldstein58 to explain the drugs-violence nexus in the United States, are then examined; these models have since served as a framework to analyze the relationship between drugs and crime. The first model suggests that crime is linked to the psychopharmacological effects of certain drugs; in other words, it refers to intoxication by drugs which are recognized as undermining judgment and self-control, causing paranoid thoughts or distorting inhibitions and perceptions. The second model refers to economic-compulsive crime and suggests that drug users commit crimes in order to get
56 D.N. Nurco, T.W. Kinlock and T.E. Hanlon, “The Drugs-Crime Connection,” in James A. Inciardi, ed., Handbook of Drug Control in the United States, Greenwood Press, 1990; M. Tonry and J.Q. Wilson, eds., Drugs and Crime, University of Chicago, 1990, p. 73.
57 Although much work done in the 20th century focused on the relationship between drug use and crime, those who have considered this literature contend that the vast majority of studies published prior to the 1970s contain little reliable information for the purpose of understanding the mechanisms linking drugs to crime. Considerable methodological problems appear to be responsible for this situation. For further information, see J.A. Inciardi, “Drugs and Criminal Behavior,” in J.A. Inciardi, ed., The Drugs-Crime Connection, Sage Publications, 1981, p. 9; D.N. Nurco et al., 1990, p. 4.
58 P.J. Goldstein, “The drugs/violence nexus: A tripartite conceptual framework,” Journal of Drug Issues, Vol. 15, Fall 1985, pp. 493-506.
money to buy drugs. Thirdly, the systemic model suggests that crime among illegal drug users is linked to the drug market. Goldstein acknowledged that this tripartite conceptual framework represents possible relationships between drugs and violence and that many other factors may contribute to a person’s drug use and criminal activity.59
LINK BETWEEN THE LEGAL STATUS OF CERTAIN DRUGS AND CRIME
1. Canadian data
In Canada, it is an offence under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act60 to possess, produce, traffic in, or import or export certain drugs. Persons who engage in these activities face legal consequences linked directly or indirectly to their drug use. Consequences directly linked to drug use are simple possession offences, while those indirectly linked are all offences related to the production of or trafficking in illegal drugs.
In 2000, Canadian police departments reported a total of 87,945 offences under the Act61 (see Table 1). Three-quarters of those offences involved marijuana, 68% of them possession. The number of police-reported incidents involving marijuana also increased from 47,234 in 1996 to 66,171 incidents in 2000.
59 H. Harwood, D. Fountain and G. Livermore, The Economic Costs of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the United States – 1992, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH Publication Number 98-4327, September 1998, Chapter 6, Section 6.2.3. Available online at http://22.214.171.124/EconomicCosts/Chapter6.html.
60 S.C. 1996, c. 19.
61 R. Logan, “Crime Statistics in Canada, 2000,” Juristat, Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics,
85?002?xie, Vol. 21, No. 8, 2001, p. 11.
Number Of Police-Reported Incidents By Type Of Drug, 1996 To 2000
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Marijuana 47,234 47,933 50,917 60,011 66,171
Cocaine 11,478 11,468 12,183 11,963 12,812
Heroin 1,287 1,235 1,323 1,323 1,226
Other drugs* 5,730 5,957 6,509 6,845 7,736
Total 65,729 66,593 70,922 80,142 87,945
*”Other drugs” include other illegal substances such as PCP, LSD and Ecstasy as well as controlled substances such as barbiturates and anabolic steroids.
Source: R. Logan, “Crime Statistics in Canada, 2000,” Juristat, Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 85-002-xie, Vol. 21, No. 8, 2001, p. 11.
Although the figures confirm the existence of crime directly and indirectly related to the use of illegal drugs (possession versus trafficking, importing and production), there are nevertheless certain significant limits as a result of which the number of offences associated with illegal drug use is underestimated.
For example, in Canada, the number of incidents determined through the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey reflects only the most serious offence committed at the time of a criminal incident. Consequently, if a criminal incident involves a robbery and a drug possession offence, only the robbery will be entered in the database.62
Research has also clearly shown that a large percentage of crime is never reported to or investigated by police. This is all the more likely to occur with crimes related to illegal drug use. Individuals involved in these types of activities are usually consenting; as a result, they are generally not inclined to report the incidents to police. Moreover, police do not necessarily investigate incidents reported to them. It is not enough for police authorities to be aware of the incident; officers on duty must establish that the situation in question is a criminal justice matter. Briefly put, the police can choose various interpretations and actions; these can include: deciding to do nothing because they believe the situation does not require legal intervention; forwarding the case to a social assistance agency; arresting the individual involved; etc.63
Although statistical fluctuations may in some instances indicate changes in the number of crimes committed, the research shows that police resources and strategies adopted in the fight against drugs very much influence official crime statistics. For example, there is every reason to believe that the sharp decline in the number of drug-related offences observed in Canada between 1981 and 1983 may be explained in part by the introduction of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. By restricting police search and seizure powers, the Charter appreciably reduced the number of police actions related to drug possession. Similarly, the introduction of alternative measures in 1997 that police officers could use when dealing with adult offenders instead of laying formal charges appears to have had a downward effect on the number of charges laid by police.64
63 For a detailed analysis, see P. Robert and C. Faugeron, Les forces cachées de la justice, Paris, Le Centurion, 1980.
64 S. Tremblay, “Illicit Drugs and Crime in Canada,” Juristat, Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 85-002-xie, Vol. 19, No. 1,
Many studies which compare data obtained through self-revealed crime surveys65 and arrest statistics as well as drug testing programs and surveys of arrestees have shown that only a small percentage of all offences reported by drug users have resulted in arrests.66 In a Canadian study conducted in Toronto in 1994, only 5% of cocaine addicts interviewed said they had been arrested for cocaine possession.67 That percentage is very similar to the percentage recorded in Canada’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Survey 1994, in which only 7.7% of respondents who reported that they had previously used illegal drugs indicated that they had been in trouble with the law.68
Finally, the figures in Table 1 pertain solely to offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act; they do not include other types of crime also associated with illegal drug use, such as violent crimes resulting from disputes between dealers and drug buyers, wars waged among criminal organizations over control of the drug trade, and acquisitive crimes committed primarily by hard drug addicts to pay for illegal drugs and maintain their lifestyle.
Statistics similar to those gathered in Canada on crime related to drug use, trafficking and the production of illegal drugs are published the world over. In 1998, marijuana was the substance most commonly cited in drug-related arrests in member states of the European
65 The self-revealed crime surveys consist of asking people whether they have committed an offence.
66 See, inter alia, D.E. Hunt, “Drug and Consensual Crimes: Drug Dealing and Prostitution in Drugs and Crime,” Michael Tonry and James Q. Wilson, eds., The University of Chicago Press, 1990; T. Makkai, J. Fitzgerald and P. Doak, “Drug use among police detainees,” Contemporary Issues in Crime and Justice, No. 49, March 2000; National Institute of Justice, 1999 Annual Report on Drug Use Among Adult and Juvenile Arrestees, Research Report, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Program, July 2000.
67 The sample consisted of 100 cocaine addicts. P.G. Erickson and T.R. Weber, “Cocaine Careers, Controls and
Consequences: Results from a Canadian Study,” Addiction Research, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1994, pp. 37?50.
68 P. MacNeil and I. Webster, Canada’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Survey 1994 – A Discussion of the Findings, Health Canada, 1997, p. 70.
Union.69 That year in France, 85% of drug arrests involved marijuana.70 It should be noted, however, that in 1997, a little less than one-half of those arrested for drug use in France were retained for questioning, and the vast majority of users were released.71
In Australia, 80% of drug arrests between 1993 and 1996-1997 were for marijuana offences. The vast majority of cases involved possession of illegal drugs rather than trafficking (71% in 1996-1997).72 It should also be noted that the majority (78%) of people imprisoned for a drug offence in 1996 were convicted of trafficking, not possession or use.73
According to 1998 British statistics on drug-related offences, 76.1% of those convicted, released on bond, fined or charged with multiple drug offences were involved with marijuana; most were arrested for possession.74
In the United States, although 80.5% of all drug arrests were for possession,75 40.5% were related to marijuana.76
Finally, in the Netherlands, 81% of all arrests for drug offences in 1996 were related to hard drugs (any drug other than hashish and marijuana), and in 1998, all offences were related to trafficking, because the Netherlands does not normally prosecute people for using
69 European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), 2000 Annual report on the state of the drugs problem in the European Union, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2000, p. 21. Available online at http://www.emcdda.org.
70 Observatoirefrançais des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT) French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addictions, Drugs and Drug Addictions: Indicators and Trends, 1999, pp. 112-113. Available online at http://www.drogues.gouv.fr/uk/index.html.
71 H. Higgins, M. Cooper-Stanbury and P. William, Statistics on Drug Use in Australia 1998, AIHW Cat. No. PHE 16, Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (Drug Statistics Series), March 2000, p. 59. Available
online at http://www.aihw.gov.au/inet/publications/health/sdua98/index.html.
73 Ibid., p. 60.
74 U.K. Drug Situation 2000 – The U.K. Report to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), DrugScope, November 2000, p. 25. Available online at http://drugscope.org.uk.
75 According to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, an arrest is deemed to occur whenever a person is taken into custody, warned or cited. The reported figures therefore do not measure the number of people arrested, because a person may be arrested more than once during the year.
76 Crime in the United States 1999: Uniform Crime Reports, U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, October 2000, Section IV, Persons Arrested, Table 4.1. This document is available online at http://www/fbi/gov/ucr/Cius_99/99crime/99c4_04.pdf.
drugs.77 These data show that, with the exception of users in the Netherlands, many drug users have come in contact with the justice system without necessarily committing an offence other than an offence directly related to their drug use (i.e., possession or use of narcotics).
The caution regarding the reliability of the Canadian statistics stated above also applies to foreign data. According to some studies in France, statistics on arrests of drug users must be used with caution, as it is difficult to determine with any certainty the extent to which observed changes reflect changes in the drug user population and whether the changes are in fact linked to changes in police and gendarmerie activities. For example, the data on arrests for drug use between 1993 and 1998 show significant increases of 30% in 1997 and 9% in 1998.78 Many factors may explain that increase, among them changes in the approaches used by police and gendarmerie, reorganization of police departments, and normalization of marijuana use. One possible explanation is that a 1995 circular on court-ordered treatment issued by the Ministry of Justice led public prosecutors to instruct the police to “systematically report users.”79 Perhaps those instructions led to the sharp increase in the number of drug-use arrests recorded in 1997.
The link between drugs and crime highlighted in this section pertains directly to drug use and drug possession. Trafficking in, importing and producing illegal drugs are forms of crime driven by different motives, such as the need to get money to buy drugs to satisfy a drug addiction. This point is discussed in greater detail in section C.
77 EMCDDA, Complementary statistical tables to the 2000 Annual Report on the state of the drugs problem in the European Union. Available online at
78 EMCDDA, 1999, p. 112.
79 Ibid., p. 114.
1. Psychopharmacological link
Many people associate drug intoxication with crime, sometimes even violent crime. This so-called psychopharmacological link implies that people may commit crimes or sometimes violent crimes after using certain substances recognized as undermining judgment and self-control, generating paranoid ideas and/or distorting inhibitions and perceptions.80
Although all drugs that have an impact on the nervous system may cause these kinds of reactions, the scientific literature suggests that some drugs are more strongly associated than others with violence of this type. Those drugs include alcohol,81 PCP (phencyclidine), cocaine, amphetamines82 and barbiturates. Inversely, heroin and cannabis are generally associated with a weaker desire to use violence to resolve disputes.83
The following table is a summary of the main properties of illegal drugs that have been analyzed in relation to violence.
80 E. Single, “The Economic Costs of Illicit Drugs and Drug Enforcement,” Policy Options, Vol. 19, October 1998.
81 Although alcohol is beyond the scope of this paper, it is nevertheless important to note that this legal drug is the most commonly recognized psychopharmacological link between drugs and violence. Research on this issue has shown that drinking precedes nearly half of all violent offences including homicides, sexual assaults
and incidents of spousal abuse. See, among others, S. Tremblay, 1999; P.J. Goldstein, 1985, pp. 493?506; M.?M. Cousineau, S. Brochu and P. Schneeberger, Consommation de susbstancespsychoactives et violence chez les jeunes, Comité permanent de la lutte à la toxicomanie, Ministère de la Santé et des services sociaux, Québec, August 2000; S. Brochu, 1995; M. De La Rosa, E.Y. Lambert and B. Gropper, eds., “Introduction: Exploring the Substance Abuse-Violence Connection,” in Drugs and Violence: Causes, Correlates, and Consequences, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1990.
82 S. Wright and H. Klee, “Violent Crime, Aggression and Amphetamine: what are the implications for drug treatment services?” Drugs: education, prevention and policy, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2001, pp. 73-90.
83 H.R. White, “The Drug Use-Delinquency Connection in Adolescence,” in Drugs, Crime and the Criminal
Justice System, R.A. Weisheil, ed., Highland Heights, 1990, pp. 215?256; M. De La Rosa, E.Y. Lambert and B. Gropper, 1990, pp. 1?7; P. Erickson, Drugs, Violence and Public Health: What Does the Harm Reduction Approach Have to Offer? Paper prepared for a conference in Vancouver, Sensible Solutions to the Urban Drug Problem, The Fraser Institute, 21 April 1998.
Main Effects Associated With The Use Of Certain Illegal Drugs
Marijuana Marijuana is generally associated with a reduced desire to use violence.
Heroin Like marijuana, heroin generally has the effect of lowering the desire to
use violence. In some cases, however, it appears that disturbed or
impulsivebehaviours may occur during a period of withdrawal.
Cocaine Cocaine’s main property is that it stimulates the central nervous system.
Cocaine abuse can cause paranoia, although that reaction appears to be
infrequent among cocaine users as a whole. Some report that cocaine
use can also cause irritability and anxiety in users, especially at the end
of a period of intoxication.
PCP PCP is recognized for its many properties (hallucinogenic, analgesic and
anesthetic). Like cocaine, it stimulates the central nervous system.
Empirical studies are particularly incomplete for this drug; however,
PCP is second to alcohol as the drug most often associated with
LSD Like PCP, LSD is known for its hallucinogenic properties. It can
therefore cause strange and violent behaviour.
Amphetamines The main property of amphetamines is that, like cocaine, they stimulate
the central nervous system. Amphetamine abuse can thus cause
paranoia, irritability, anxiety and even toxic psychosis.
Sources: S. Brochu, “La violence et la drogue,” L’intervenant, Vol. 16, No. 3, April 2000; D.C. McBride, “Drugs and Violence,” in J. Inciardi, ed., The Drugs-Crime Connection, Sage
Publications, 1981; N. Boyd, High Society. Legal and Illegal Drugs in Canada, Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1991.
However, evidence supporting this model is limited. The few empirical elements are drawn from research which presents numerous methodological problems and does not really help to understand the specific effects of certain drugs.84Indeed, many recent studies have challenged the notion that psychoactive drugs stimulate violent behaviour in any systematic manner.85
This psychopharmacological model of the link between drug use and crime is based in particular on research data showing that a large number of arrestees and inmates had used drugs on the day they committed the crimes for which they were incarcerated. The following paragraphs present research findings which show that many criminal acts, some of them violent, are committed in Canada each year under the influence of a drug.
According to data from Statistics Canada’s 1997 survey Homicide in Canada, 50% of accused persons had used alcohol or illegal drugs before committing their crimes.86 Another Canadian study conducted in 1999 – based on a questionnaire distributed to all new inmates incarcerated in federal penitentiaries87 – showed:
84 Some researchers, among them S. Brochu (1995) and P. Erickson (1998), thus contend that the samples used in studies very often have significant methodological problems. In particular, the researchers mention the size of the samples and the inclusion of individuals with long-standing problems of psychological instability, which make it impossible to verify the effect of the drug itself.
85 See, inter alia, L.D. Harrison and M. Backenheimer, “Editors’ Introduction: Evolving Insights into the Drug-Crime Nexus,” Substance Use & Misuse, 33(9), 1990, pp. 1763-1777.
86 O. Fedorowycz, “Homicide in Canada, 1997,” Juristat, Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice
Statistics, 85?002?xie, Vol. 18, No. 12, 1998.
87 The survey in question – entitled Computerized Lifestyle Screening Instrument – is an assessment tool for gathering detailed information on the relationship between crime and substance abuse. It specifically covers such areas as drug use, emotional states, interpersonal problems and adjustment problems related to substance abuse. For more information, see S. Brochu, L.G. Cournoyer, L. Motiuk and K. Pernaen, “Drugs, Alcohol and Crime: Patterns among Canadian Federal Inmates,” Bulletin on Narcotics, Vol. LI, No. 1 and 2, 1999, pp. 57?73.
slightly more than half (50.6%) of the inmates had used drugs and/or alcohol on the day they committed the offence for which they were incarcerated;
among this group, approximately 16% had used illegal drugs only and 13% had used a combination of the two88; and
significant differences in the types of crimes committed by type of drug used (i.e., alcohol and illegal drugs).
There was a rather clear distinction between acquisitory crimes and violent crimes in the prevalence of use of drugs and alcohol. While homicides and, more pronouncedly, assaults and wounding were predominantly alcohol-related, crimes such as thefts and break and enter showed a higher prevalence of drug use on the day of the crime.89
Similarly, self-report surveys in the United States have also indicated a link between criminal activity and the use of alcohol and illicit drugs.
According to self-reports from a 1991 survey with a sample of 14,000 State and 6,600 Federal prison inmates, 24% of Federal inmates and 49% of State inmates reported that they were under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs at the time of their current offence. In State prisons, 32% of inmates reported they were under the influence of alcohol, and 31% reported they were under the influence of drugs (including 14% who were under the influence of both) when they committed their current offence.90
This closer link between alcohol use and violent crime has been demonstrated in a number of studies.91In 1991, the Research and Statistics Branch of Correctional Service
88 A similar study conducted in 1994 also established drug use prevalence rates of about 50% – 29% having used illegal drugs only and 27% a combination of drugs and alcohol. L. Wolff and B. Reingold, “Drug Use and Crime,” Juristat, Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Vol. 14, No. 6, 1994.
89 S. Brochu et al., 1999, p. 66.
90 H. Harwood et al., 1998, Chapter 6, Section 6.2.3.
91 See, inter alia, D. Farabee, Y. Joshi and M.D. Anglin, “Addiction Careers and Criminal Specialization,” Crime & Delinquency, Vol. 47, No. 2, April 2001, pp. 196-220.
Canada pointed out that “violent offences were more often committed under the influence of alcohol or both alcohol and drugs, rather than under the influence of drugs alone.”92 In one of the analyses on drug-related homicides in New York, Goldstein contended that very few murder victims are killed by people driven mad by illegal drugs and that homicide related to psychopharmacological factors is generally committed by people under the influence of alcohol.93 An analysis of 218 homicides in New York, committed in 1998 and presumed to be related to drugs, showed that only 14% involved the psychopharmacological factor and that 74% were related to systemic violence resulting from the illegal drug market and related drug trafficking.94
The 1999 study by Brochu et al. also gathered useful information for analyzing the link between the psychopharmacological effects of certain drugs and criminal behaviour. The study, which dealt specifically with illegal drug use and crime, produced the following main findings:
28% of the inmates questioned said they had committed all or at least most of their crimes under the influence of an illegal drug;95
nearly 44% of inmates who reported that they had previously used illegal drugs believed that their drug use had increased their criminal activity, whereas 51% thought their drug use had had no effect on their criminal activity and nearly 5% contended that it had contributed to a decline in their criminal activity;96 and
92 D. Robinson, F. Porporino and B. Milison, Patterns of Alcohol and Drug Use Among Federal Offenders as Assessed by the Computerized Lifestyle Screening Instrument, Research and Statistics Branch, Correctional Service of Canada, 1991. Available online at http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/rsrch/reports/r11/r11.e.shtml.
93 P.J. Goldstein and H.H. Brownstein, “Drug-Related Homicide in New York: 1984 and 1988,” Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 38, No. 4, 1992, downloaded on 31 July 2001, from the Library of Parliament databases (Academic Search Elite).
95 S. Brochu et al., 1999, p. 65.
96 Ibid., p. 69.
nearly 80% of inmates who used illegal drugs on the day they committed the crime for which they were incarcerated (16% of inmates in the study) stated that their drug use had facilitated their acting out. Of those, 83.1% reported that their drug use had altered their judgment, 33.6% that it had made them more inclined to fight, and 37% that it had made them more aggressive and violent.97
Although some of these findings offer invaluable information for understanding the meaning that inmates attach to their drug use and crimes, such as the data on drug use on the day of the crime, they are insufficient to show a causal relationship between drug use and criminal activity. In other words, nothing in these findings clearly demonstrates that the criminal act would not have been committed if the individual had not been under the influence of drugs. Moreover, the findings based on the link that the offender sees between his or her drug use and his or her crimes should be significantly clarified. In the view of various researchers,98 some inmates prefer to associate their criminal behaviour with their drug use. This enables them to attribute responsibility for their actions to an outside cause, i.e., drugs. Although for many inmates this association is indisputable, research has shown that some individuals use it as an excuse for their behaviour and to unburden themselves of part of the weight of the offence.99A 1998 study of the entire Canadian population also tends to show that this view of the matter is widespread. According to the survey results, three-quarters of respondents admitted that drinking could serve as a pretext for using violence.100
98 See, inter alia, J. Fagan, “Intoxication and Aggression,” in Drugs and Crime, Michael Tonry and James Q. Wilson, eds., The University of Chicago Press, 1990; S. Brochu, 1995; W. Loza and P. Clément, “Incarcerated Alcoholics’ and Rapists’ Attributions of Blame for Criminal Acts,” Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, Vol.
23, No. 1, 1991, pp. 76?83.
99 Serge Brochu devotes a chapter in the appendix of his book to an analysis of the reliability of self-revealed crime reports. One of the questions he raises directly concerns intoxication and substance abuse as an excuse. S. Brochu, 1995, pp. 211?217.
100 A. Paglia and R. Room, “Alcohol and Aggression: General Population Views About Causation and Responsibility,” Journal of Substance Abuse, Vol. 10, 1998, pp. 199?216.
According to Brochu, “while the general pharmacological characteristics of the most common drugs are quite well known, understanding of the specific mechanisms promoting violent behaviour appears extremely deficient.”101 This may be explained by the complex nature of the variables involved, which include:
type of drug used (simultaneous use of more than one drug must also be considered); method of use;
dosage (drugs are recognized as having variable effects depending on the user’s weight, height, sex and other characteristics);102
the user’s predisposition (moods, expectations of drug use, general health, etc.)103; and
social environment (local atmosphere, companions, etc.).104)
The psychopharmacological model is powerless to explain why most drug users do not commit crimes of violent offences. This deficiency forces a recognition of the fact that the reasons for violence and criminal activity go beyond the properties of the drugs themselves.
Although many studies indicate that some people used illegal drugs the day they committed their crime, there is little empirical evidence in the scientific literature to establish a direct link between crime, violence and the psychopharmacological effects of drugs.105
101 S. Brochu, 1995, p. 87.
102 C. Giroux, “Les substances psychoactives :repèrespharmacologiques et physiologiques,” in L’usage des drogues et la toxicomanie, P. Brisson, ed., Gaëtan Morin, 1988, vol. 1.
103 According to Brochu (1995), “Very often these drugs merely catalyze already present aggressive energies.”
104 P. Paquin, “La violence, une drogue qui fait mal à tout le monde,” L’intervenant, Vol. 16, No. 3, April 2000,
105 S. Brochu, 1995; J.J. Collins, “Summary Thoughts About Drugs and Violence,” NIDA, Research Monograph Series, Drugs and Violence: Causes, Correlates and Consequences, Rockville, National Institute of Drug Abuse, Vol. 113, 1990, pp. 265-275; J. Fagan, 1990; P. Erickson, 1998.
Substance abuse and criminal activity
Before moving on to crime and violence caused by the illegal drug market, this section examines another aspect that may explain the link between drug use and crime, i.e., the economic?compulsive link, which assumes that drug users commit crimes to finance their drug use. More specifically, according to this explanatory model of the drug-crime relationship, the compelling and recurrent need for drugs and their high price lead some users to commit crimes to obtain the money they need to buy drugs. This model focuses on individuals who have developed a dependence on expensive drugs and assumes that the large amounts of money associated with frequent use of certain illegal drugs constitute an incentive for criminal action.
This explanation of the relationship between drugs and crime is well supported in the literature and the media. Many people attribute a great percentage of crime to this economic-compulsive link. According to Brochu:
This belief, deeply rooted in people’s minds, is fostered by the police and the media, which seize every opportunity to dig up the drug-using past of persons arrested for theft. The offenders themselves promote this association by swearing to anyone who will listen that the single cause of their involvement in crime is their heavy drug use. For many, this statement is indisputable. For others, some doubt persists because, in some instances, there is a clear benefit to be gained in accepting the label of addict: referral to a treatment centre instead of
106 S. Brochu, 1995, p. 78.
Many statistical studies support the theory of a link between addiction to illegal drugs and criminal activity. Some Canadian and foreign studies have shown that the rate of use of illegal drugs is much higher among people who have been in contact with the criminal justice system than among the general population.107
In his 1994 report, the Chief Coroner of British Columbia stated that law enforcement agencies generally admit that many chronic drug users commit crimes to support their dependence. At the time, police officers in British Columbia estimated that 60% of crimes committed in the province were motivated by, although not directly linked to, drugs.108
Furthermore, a report published in 1995 by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police stated that most crimes against property (such as theft, break and enter, and fraud), as well as prostitution, are committed by drug users in order to feed their habit.109
Some Canadian research conducted among inmates also provides empirical evidence supporting the economic-compulsive model. According to one study conducted by Forget in 1990,110 more than one-third of the individuals interviewed at the Montreal Detention Centre said that they had committed their crimes for the purpose of buying drugs. Similarly, the 1999 study by Brochuet al.111 showed that nearly two-thirds of federal inmates who had used drugs on the day of the crime for which they were incarcerated reported having committed their crime in order to get money to buy drugs. That was the case for inmates who had committed the following crimes: theft (more than 83%); robbery (78%); fraud (70%); and
107 S. Brochu, 1995, p. 17; E. Single, 1998, p. 3; H. Harwood et al., 1998, Chapter 6, section 6.2.3; T. Makkai et al., 2000; T. Bennett, Drugs and Crime: The Results of Research on Drug Testing and Interviewing Arrestees, Home Office Research Study 183, London: Home Office, 1998, p. 30.
108 J.V. Cain, Report of the Task Force into Illicit Narcotic Overdose Deaths in British Columbia, Ministry of Attorney General, 1994, p. 66.
109 Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, Canadian Drug Perspective – 1995.
110 C. Forget, “La consommation de substances psychoactives chez les détenus du Centre de détention de Montréal,” Université de Montréal, unpublished Master’s thesis, 1990.
111 This study provides invaluable information for the analysis of the economic-compulsive model through a specific question inserted in the Computerized Lifestyle Screening Instrument distributed to all new federal inmates. The question is: “Was this crime committed to get or while trying to get drugs for your personal use?” S. Brochu et al., 1999, p. 10.
break and enter (68%). The study also appears to confirm a strong link between the use of expensive drugs and the commission of criminal acts. Approximately 68% of cocaine users who answered the questionnaire reported that they had committed their crimes in order to get the money they needed to buy drugs.112 Once again, it is important to interpret this information carefully. As discussed above, some offenders (consciously or not) use this strategy to justify their behaviour and reject responsibility for their actions.
Regular use of illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine is expensive. The amount spent by addicts on drugs varies from report to report. However, researchers agree that drug addicts have three main sources of income: social assistance, acquisitive crime, and the illegal drug market.113 A study conducted in Quebec in the 1990s found that expenses related to daily cocaine use could amount to $43,000 a year.114 In a more recent study of opiate users in Toronto, a sample of heroin users reported spending an average of $3,133 on heroin in the 30 days preceding the study.115 Most respondents (89.7%) in the sample who had already been arrested said that they were arrested primarily for illegal activities either related to their drug use or activities in which they were trying to get drugs or get money to buy drugs.116
In a British study based on four regions of the United Kingdom, the majority of arrestees who said that they thought that their drug use and crime were connected also said that the two were connected because they needed money to buy drugs (70%).117 Another study of heroin addicts in Amsterdam found that some heroin users do commit crimes in order to buy drugs but that acquisitive crime accounts for only about one-quarter of their total
112 Note that this is again the most serious crime for which they had been incarcerated.
113 B. Fischer et al., “Illicit Opiates in Toronto: A Profile of Current Users,” Addiction Research, Vol. 7, No. 5, 1999, p. 382.
114 M. Lecavalier, in S. Brochu, 1995, p. 66.
115 B. Fischer et al., 1999, p. 396.
116 Ibid., p. 405.
117 Trevor Bennett, Drugs and Crime: The Results of the Second Developmental Stage of the NEW-ADAM Programme, Home Office Research Study 205, London, Home Office, August 2000, p. 80.
income. Heroin addicts in Amsterdam derive most of their income from social security.118
Social assistance is also the main source of income, apart from illegal activities, for opiate users in Toronto.119
Research has also shown that drug users’ criminal activity varies greatly with the relationship they have with drugs.120 The periods when users are dependent on a drug are often accompanied by increased criminal activity, whereas periods when they have no such dependency see an appreciable decline in such activity.121 Studies of arrestees in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have shown a strong relationship between illegal drug use and illegal income. For example, the findings of the NEW-ADAM (New English and Welsh Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring) study group showed that:
Arrestees who reported spending £100 or more on drugs reported ten times the number of offences as those who reported no expenditure on drugs. They also reported four times the mean number of offence types committed in the last 12 months, eight times more than the mean illegal income, and almost twice as many arrests.122
The relationship that users are likely to have with drugs and crime is thus influenced to a large degree by their drug use profile. To afford a better grasp of these subtle points, researchers have proposed a typology consisting of three categories of users: experimenters or occasional users; regular users; and dependent users.
With regard to occasional users, the research tends to show that most will never use illegal drugs regularly. In the vast majority of cases, moreover, they will never adopt a
118 M. Grapendaal, E. Leuw and H. Nelen, A World of Opportunities: Life-style and Economic Behavior of Heroin Addicts in Amsterdam, State University of New York Press, 1995, p. 132.
119 B. Fischer et al., 1999, p. 377.
120 See, inter alia, E.P. Deschesnes, M.D. Anglin and G. Speckart, “Narcotics Addiction: Related Criminal Careers, Social and Economic Costs,”Journal of Drug Issues, Vol. 21, No. 2, 1991, pp. 383-411.
121 P. Erickson, 1998; D.N. Nurcoet al., 1990, p. 83; M. Grapendaalet al., 1995, p. 121; T. Bennett, 1998, p. 44; E. Leuw and I.H. Marshall, eds.,Between prohibition and legalization: the Dutch experiment in drug policy, Kugler Publications, 1994, p. 248.
122 T. Bennett, 2000, p. x.
deviant lifestyle and will generally choose legal ways of financing their illegal drug use. In most cases, crime will be a means of last resort.123 Instead, it is the amount of available money that will dictate the purchase and use of drugs by these individuals.124 Many studies suggest that only occasional users who have already adopted a deviant lifestyle prior to using drugs will likely commit offences to meet their needs.125 These offences may help finance their drug use, but most will do it for the adrenaline rush and because they want a taste of life on the edge. This explanation of the relationship between drugs and crime seems particularly appropriate for young people.
For dependent users, dependency will very often have the effect of increasing their involvement in crime. However, it must be understood that this involvement will to a large extent be determined by their circumstances, the drug they use, their lifestyle, their attraction to certain types of activities, and their economic and social resources.126 Research on the lifestyle and economic behaviour of heroin addicts in Amsterdam has indeed shown that 21% of the study sample reported not committing any crime prior to or during the research.127
Furthermore, among the group of drug users who said they were involved in criminal activities, it was found that “in total, acquisitive crime accounts for 24% of the total income. The most important source of income is social security.”128 Although few studies have focused on the criminal involvement of more affluent addicts, research has nevertheless shown that users who were not involved in any form of crime at the time they became dependent and who have enough money to pay for their drug habits generally do not resort to
123 S. Brochu, “Drogues et criminalité : Point de vue critique sur les idéesvéhiculées,” Déviance et société, Vol. 21, No. 3, 1997, p. 305.
124 S. Brochu, 1995.
125 See, inter alia, S. Brochu, 1995; N. Brunelle, S. Brochu, and M-M. Cousineau, “Drug-crime relations among drug-consuming juvenile delinquents: A tripartite model and more,” Contemporary Drug Problems, Vol. 27, No. 4, Winter 2000, pp. 835-866.
126 S. Brochu, 1995, p. 36.
127 M. Grapendaalet al., 1995, p. 190.
128 Ibid., p. 132.
criminal activities.129 Criminal activity is thus not an inevitable outcome of drug use, even for individuals who have developed a dependency on a high-cost drug.
Furthermore, crime is not the only means by which dependent users pay for drugs.130
Users may increase their usual money-earning activities while reducing their overall spending. Some occasional users will work overtime to make up the shortfall, while others will moonlight. They may also borrow money from friends or family members and even use resources intended for people in need (e.g., soup kitchens and shelters for the homeless) in order to reduce the amount they spend on their own meals and accommodation and thus free up money for drugs.131 According to Brochu, many users prefer to stop using drugs rather than get involved in crime, and few fall into a form of crime that conflicts with their basic moral values132 (e.g., prostitution or selling drugs to minors).
Types of crime committed by drug users
A number of studies have shown that the type of crime which stems from the need for money created by dependence on certain drugs is generally acquisitive and non-violent.133
Although addicts who need money may at times engage in violent crime, the research tends to show that this type of crime is quite rare and that when it does occur, it very often springs from the context in which the crime is committed.
While some of these acts may be intrinsically violent, e.g. muggings or armed robbery, the violence may often result as the by-product of other factors in the social context
129 See, inter alia, P.J. Goldstein, “Getting Over: Economic Alternatives to Predatory Crime Among Street Drug Users,” in J. Inciardi, ed., The Drugs-Crime Connection, 1981.
130 See,inter alia, S. Brochu, 1995, pp. 34-37.
132 Ibid., p. 306.
133 J.A. Inciardi, The War on Drugs: Heroin, Cocaine Crime and Public Policy, Palo Alto, Mayfield; Steven Duke and Albert Gross, America’s Longest War: Rethinking Our Tragic Crusade Against Drugs, New York:
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1993, p. 53; S. Brochu, “La violence et la drogue,”L’intervenant, Vol. 16, No. 3, April 2000. In general, U.S. research tends to show that violent crime represents a very small portion (less than 3%) of crimes committed by illegal drug users. See,inter alia, D.N. Nurcoet al., 1990.
in which the crime is perpetrated, e.g. when a victim returns home or wakes up during a break and enter, the resistance of the intended victim, the intercession of bystanders; such unanticipated occurrences may lead to an escalation in what could have been completed as a non-violent crime.134
The crimes most often committed by individuals who have developed an intense dependency on a drug and who do not have the financial and social means to obtain it are drug trafficking, prostitution, theft of property, break and enter, and fraud.135 In general, the crimes favoured by users are those not requiring any particular expertise and for which there is a minor risk of prosecution. It should therefore not be surprising that the crimes they most often commit are theft within the family or in the workplace, shoplifting, and the theft of small items (e.g., bicycles and contents of automobiles).136 Nor will it be surprising that most major drug users get involved in reselling illegal drugs in exchange for either money or drugs.137 Women tend to engage in prostitution to a greater degree than do men. The difference may be attributable in particular to “the fact that it is difficult for women to gain access to other types of crime (e.g., trafficking) and the fact that they are economically dependent” as well as by the “traditional role of women as perceived by men.”138
That being said, beyond these figures and the impressions conveyed by the police and others, there is no existing empirical data that researchers can use to determine the percentage of crimes committed out of a need for money caused by drug dependence. Furthermore, the economic-compulsive model largely disregards some research findings, including the fact that: a number of drug users, even those who are dependent users, do not commit crimes
134 P. Erickson, 1998, p. 8.
135 For a detailed analysis of the types of crime committed by drug addicts, see S. Brochu, 1995 and 1997
136 C.E. Faupel, Shooting Dope: Career Pattern of Hard-core Heroin Users, Gainsville: University of Florida Press, 1991.
137 D.E. Hunt, 1990, p. 194.
138 S. Brochu, 1997, p. 308.
other than those directly related to their drug use; and many drug users got involved in crime before they used drugs.
Violence is an integral part of the illegal drug distribution market.139It exists mainly because the drug market affords no legal way of obtaining justice when rules are violated. According to this explanatory model of the relationship between drugs and crime, the profit opportunities perceived by the various players in the market and the fierce competition in this illegal environment encourage involvement in crime, such as: disputes between dealers, problems involved in recovering debts, protection rackets, etc. On this point, Erickson contends that:
While legally regulated markets, such as those in alcohol or pharmaceuticals, have recourse to legitimate authority to resolve disputes and set standards for fair competition, those involved in an illegal, high profit market resort mainly to force.140
Crime in the drug world is often caused by rivalries among individuals attempting to corner the market. This violence may involve various players – including traffickers, importers, merchants or dealers – and may be intended to control various territories, such as a neighbourhood, street or school. Violence is then used as an organizational management strategy.(90) Its use is easily understood when one thinks of the high economic stakes involved in the illegal drug market.141
A Canadian study of drug dealers on probation provided an updated view of the frequent use of violence in the context of the drug trade. According to the study’s findings, slightly more than half of the drug dealers interviewed (56%) admitted they had used
139 C.E. Faupel, 1991; D.E. Hunt, 1990.
140 P. Erickson, 1998, p. 13.
141 S. Brochu, 1995, p. 92.
violence in their activities.142 These figures are not surprising in view of the context in which the dealings take place because:
Buying and selling drugs requires a face-to-face interaction in which the dealer is trying to sell the lowest quality at the highest price, while presenting the drug as the highest quality at the lowest price.143
Some Canadian statistics provide an overview of the extent of this type of crime. In 1997, the police reported that 12% of homicides with a known motive were linked to drugs.144This extremely violent crime once again represents only a portion of total crime in the drug world. According to Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, a number of these violent crimes result from wars between criminal organizations involved in drug smuggling in Canada.145 The data collated by the Service suggest that:
As of the end of 1998, the war between the Hells Angels and the Rock Machine, which began in July 1994, has resulted in 103 homicides, 124 murder attempts, 9 missing persons, 84 bombings and 130 incidents of arson, for a total of 450 violent incidents.146
Apart from these incomplete data, however, it is impossible to quantify all the crime stemming from the illegal drug market in Canada. The same statement applies to the United States, as there are very few studies on the topic. However, as noted earlier, one study of drug-related homicides in New York in the 1980s did find that the most common type of drug-related homicide was systemic, accounting for 74% of drug-related homicides in New
142 P. Erickson, 1998.
143 D.C. McBride, 1981, p. 112.
144 S. Tremblay, 1999, p. 7.
145 Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, 1999, p. 4. Available online
York City in 1988.147Although few experts question the assertion that violence is an integral part of that market, it is difficult to get a clear handle on this type of crime:
Apart from media accounts, very few studies have attempted to verify this model empirically. One factor that might explain researchers’ lack of interest in this approach lies in the fact that few victims appeal to police departments. Resellers definitely have no interest in reporting thefts of drugs and money which they have suffered. If they do, they have every interest in concealing certain information. They may report an amount of money stolen, taking care not to disclose its source. Thus it becomes very difficult to identify the systemic crime with any accuracy and to distinguish it from general crime.148
PROFILE OF A GROUP OF MARIJUANA USERS
There are very few studies of long-term users, particularly cannabis users, which is surprising considering that cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in the world. The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNDCP) estimates in their World Drug Report 2000 that 180 million people worldwide used illegal drugs in the late 1990s; of that group, 144.1 million people used cannabis, which represents 3.4% of the world’s population age 15 and older.149 One recent study150investigated the characteristics and patterns of cannabis and other drug use among long-term users in the North Coast of New South Wales, a rural area of Australia with high levels of cannabis cultivation and use, and reported the following findings:
147 P.J. Goldstein and H.H. Brownstein, 1992.
148 S. Brochu, 1995, p. 101.
149 United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, World Drug Report 2000, United Nations, 2000, p. 70.
150 D. Reilly, P. Didcottet al., “Long Term Cannabis Use: Characteristics of Users in an Australian Rural
Area,” Addiction, Vol. 93, No. 6, June 1998, downloaded 1 August 2001 from the Library of Parliament databases (Academic Search Elite).
Characteristics and patterns – The study involved 268 adults with a mean age of 36.4 years. They were well educated, with 62% having obtained further educational qualifications since leaving school. Their main sources of income were employment (48%) and government benefits (42%). Respondents had a long history of regular cannabis use (an average of 19 years), and most had ready access to cannabis, with two-thirds growing cannabis for their own use. The majority used cannabis daily (60%), with a median of two joints per day.
Contexts and perceptions of cannabis use – Cannabis is most often used in social settings with most users (67%) usually or always sharing cannabis with family and friends. Slightly more than half of the respondents (54%) lived in a household with children under 16 years of age and of these, 52% indicated that they either used less cannabis when the children were around or that they used cannabis away from the children. Most performed their normal daily activities either during or after smoking cannabis. The vast majority (90%) reported that they drove a motor vehicle at least occasionally soon after using cannabis and more than half (60%) had operated machinery after using cannabis. Respondents reported that they used cannabis for relaxation or relief of tension (61%) and for enjoyment or to feel good (27%). Most respondents also reported some negative aspects of cannabis use including the illegality of cannabis use (29%), the high costs of cannabis (14%), and the social stigma of being a cannabis user (11%). However, 72% believed that the benefits outweighed the risks. The most widely used drugs other than cannabis were alcohol and tobacco, but most had also used other illicit drugs in their lifetime.
Involvement with the legal system – Just over one-quarter of the respondents (26%) had ever been charged for possession, 11% for cultivation and 6% for supply, and 12% had been arrested for other drug-related offences. Most of the offences had
occurred some years prior to the study with only 22% of cannabis cases in the past three years. The percentage of non?drug offences was low, with the most common being drinking-driving (8%), stealing (6%), traffic offences (6%), robbery and assault (3%), and miscellaneous offences (8%).
These data are pertinent because they show that some regular cannabis users (an average of almost 20 years of use) commit very few crimes not related to drugs and do not use other illegal drugs on a regular basis. However, before any conclusions can be drawn, more studies will have to be carried out to analyze the profile of regular users of cannabis and other illegal drugs; this will not be an easy task given the difficulty locating and obtaining input from this type of population, which is still considered a deviant group.
This paper reviewed a number of studies dealing with the relationship between illegal drug use and crime in an effort to illustrate the complexity of the connection between drug use and crime.
After examining the link between the legal status of certain drugs and crime, the paper discussed three theoretical models which endeavour to explain the relationship between drug use and crime: the psychopharmacological link; the economic-compulsive link; and the systemic link. A study on regular cannabis users was then presented.
The evidence demonstrated that the closest link between drug use and crime occurs in drug users who are dependent on expensive drugs but cannot afford to buy them. Even then, the relationship is not automatic, because crime is not an inevitable consequence of drug use, even for users who are addicted to drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Involvement in crime also varies depending on the economic, cultural and social context. Finally, some users simply choose to stop using drugs rather than commit crimes (with or without the support of organizations which help drug addicts).
As well, the mere fact that crimes are committed by drug users is not enough to say that drug use does cause crime or vice versa. It is more likely that drug use intensifies and perpetuates the commission of criminal offences. Drug use is only one factor among a group of variables that may account for criminal behaviour; other variables include physiological, psychological and behavioural, family, cultural, social, economic and situational factors. The research does confirm that a number of links can be established between illegal drug use and crime but that those links are not necessarily causal in nature and more closely resemble variables in the complex relationship between drugs and crime. As Brochu wrote:
The relationship between drugs and crime is not as easy to understand as some claim. The triangular relationship between a person, a product and a behaviour is complex and cannot be defined in a simple formula no matter how appealing. Care must be taken to avoid the tendency to reduce reality to simplifications that distort it.
The consequences of this observation for drug intervention and policy development are considerable. An approach that would fail to treat all factors contributing to drug use and crime or that would attribute a causal role exclusively to drug use would inevitably result in the implementation of ineffective policies. As suggested by this brief literature review, the whole concept of “drug-related crime” which features in most of the policy documents and research in this area needs to be re-thought.
June 26 is celebrated as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking every year. It is an exercise undertaken by the world community to sensitize the people in general and the youth in particular, to the menace of drugs. The picture is grim if the world statistics on the drugs scenario is taken into account. With a turnover of around $500 billions, it is the third largest business in the world, next to petroleum and arms trade. About 190 million people all over the world consume one drug or the other. Drug addiction causes
immense human distress and the illegal production and distribution of drugs have spawned crime and violence worldwide. Today, there is no part of the world that is free from the curse of drug trafficking and drug addiction. Millions of drug addicts, all over the world, are leading miserable lives, between life and death.
India too is caught in this vicious circle of drug abuse, and the numbers of drug addicts are increasing day by day. According to a UN report, One million heroin addicts are registered in India, and unofficially there are as many as five million. What started off as casual use among a minuscule population of high-income group youth in the metro has permeated to all sections of society. Inhalation of heroin alone has given way to intravenous drug use, that too in combination with other sedatives and painkillers. This has increased the intensity of the effect, hastened the process of addiction and complicated the process of recovery. Cannabis, heroin, and Indian-produced pharmaceutical drugs are the most frequently abused drugs in India. Cannabis products, often called charas, bhang, or ganja, are abused throughout the country because it has attained some amount of religious sanctity because of its association with some Hindu deities. The International Narcotics Control Board in its 2002 report released in Vienna pointed out that in India persons addicted to opiates are shifting their drug of choice from opium to heroin. The pharmaceutical products containing narcotic drugs are also increasingly being abused. The intravenous injections of analgesics like dextropropoxpheneetc are also reported from many states, as it is easily available at 1/10th the cost of heroin. The codeine-based cough syrups continue to be diverted from the domestic market for abuse
Drug abuse is a complex phenomenon, which has various social, cultural, biological, geographical, historical and economic aspects. The disintegration of the old joint family system, absence of parental love and care in modern families where both parents are working, decline of old religious and moral values etc lead to a rise in the number of drug addicts who
take drugs to escape hard realities of life. Drug use, misuse or abuse is also primarily due to the nature of the drug abused, the personality of the individual and the addict’s immediate environment. The processes of industrialization, urbanization and migration have led to loosening of the traditional methods of social control rendering an individual vulnerable to the stresses and strains of modern life. The fast changing social milieu, among other factors, is mainly contributing to the proliferation of drug abuse, both of traditional and of new psychoactive substances. The introduction of synthetic drugs and intravenous drug use leading to HIV/AIDS has added a new dimension to the problem, especially in the Northeast states of the country.
Drug abuse has led to a detrimental impact on the society. It has led to increase in the crime rate. Addicts resort to crime to pay for their drugs. Drugs remove inhibition and impair judgment egging one on to commit offences. Incidence of eve- teasing, group clashes, assault and impulsive murders increase with drug abuse. Apart from affecting the financial stability, addiction increases conflicts and causes untold emotional pain for every member of the family. With most drug users being in the productive age group of 18-35 years, the loss in terms of human potential is incalculable. The damage to the physical, psychological, moral and intellectual growth of the youth is very high. Adolescent drug abuse is one of the major areas of concern in adolescent and young people’s behavior. It is estimated that, in India, by the time most boys reach the ninth grade, about 50 percent of them have tried at least one of the gateway drugs. However, there is a wide regional variation across states in term of the incidence of the substance abuse. For example, a larger proportion of teens in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh use gateway drugs (about 60 percent in both the states) than Uttar Pradesh or Haryana (around 35 percent). Increase in incidences of HIV, hepatitis B and C and tuberculosis due to addiction adds the reservoir of infection in the community burdening the health care system further. Women in India face greater problems from drug abuse. The
consequences include domestic violence and infection with HIV, as well as the financial burden. Eighty seven per cent of addicts being treated in a de-addiction center run by the Delhi police acknowledged being violent with family members. Most of the domestic violence is directed against women and occurs in the context of demands for money to buy drugs. At the national level, drug abuse is intrinsically linked with racketeering, conspiracy, corruption, illegal money transfers, terrorism and violence threatening the very stability of governments.
India has braced itself to face the menace of drug trafficking both at the national and international levels. Several measures involving innovative changes in enforcement, legal and judicial systems have been brought into effect. The introduction of death penalty for drug-related offences has been a major deterrent. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, were enacted with stringent provisions to curb this menace. The Act envisages a minimum term of 10 years imprisonment extendable to 20 years and fine of Rs. 1 lakh extendable up to Rs. 2 lakhs for the offenders. The Act has been further amended by making provisions for the forfeiture of properties derived from illicit drugs trafficking. Comprehensive strategy involving specific programmes to bring about an overall reduction in use of drugs has been evolved by the various government agencies and NGOs and is further supplemented by measures like education, counseling. India has bilateral agreements on drug trafficking with 13 countries, including Pakistan and Burma. Prior to 1999, extradition between India and the United States occurred under the auspices of a 1931 treaty signed by the United States and the United Kingdom, which was made applicable to India in 1942. However, a new extradition treaty between India and the United States entered into force in July 1999. A Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty was signed by India and the United States in October 2001. India also is signatory to the following treaties and conventions:
o 1961 U.N. Convention on Narcotic Drugs
o 1971 U.N. Convention on Psychotropic Substances
o 1988 U.N. Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and
o 2000 Transnational Crime Convention
The spread and entrenchment of drug abuse needs to be prevented, as the cost to the people, environment and economy will be colossal. The unseemly spectacle of unkempt drug abusers dotting lanes and by lanes, cinema halls and other public places should be enough to goad the authorities to act fast to remove the scourge of this social evil. Moreover, the spread of such reprehensible habits among the relatively young segment of society ought to be arrested at all cost. There is a need for the government enforcement agencies, the non-governmental philanthropic agencies, and others to collaborate and supplement each other’s efforts for a solution to the problem of drug addiction through education and legal actions.
DRUG USE, CRIME, AND INCARCERATION
The connection between drug use and crime is well known. Drug use is implicated in
at least five types of drug-related offenses:151
1. Offenses related to drug possession or sales
2. Offenses directly related to obtaining drugs (e.g., stealing to get money for drugs)
3. Offenses related to a lifestyle that includes association with other offenders or with illicit markets
4. Offenses related to abusive and violent behaviors, including domestic violence and sexual assault
5. Offenses related to driving while intoxicated or under the influence, which can include property damage, accidents, injuries, and fatalities.152
Drug use and intoxication can impair judgment, resulting in criminal behavior, poor anger management, and violent behavior. Sometimes drug users steal money or property to be able to buy drugs. Often they will commit crimes while “high” on drugs, and many drug users are sent to jail or prison. In 2012, nearly 7 million adults were involved with the criminal justice system (State or Federal prisons, local jails), including nearly 5 million who were under probation or parole supervision.153 A 2004 survey by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) estimated that about 70 percent of State and 64 percent of Federal prisoners
151 National Institute on Drug Abuse. Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations: A Research-Based Guide. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse. NIH publication No. 11-5316, revised 2012.
152 National Institute on Drug Abuse. Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations: A Research-Based Guide. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse. NIH publication No. 11-5316, revised 2012.
153 Glaze, L.E.; and Herberman, E.J. Correctional Populations in the United States, 2012. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2013.
regularly used drugs prior to incarceration.154 The study also showed that 1 in 4 violent offenders in State prisons committed their offenses under the influence of drugs.
Most prisoners serving time for drug-related crimes were not arrested for simple possession. Among sentenced prisoners under State jurisdiction in 2008, 18 percent were sentenced for drug offenses and only 6 percent were incarcerated for drug possession alone. Just over 4 percent (4.4%) were drug offenders with no prior sentences. In 2009 about half (51 percent) of Federal prisoners, who represent 13 percent of the total prison population, had a drug offense as the most serious offense. Federal data show that the vast majority (99.8 percent) of Federal prisoners sentenced for drug offenses were incarcerated for drug trafficking.155
Simple possession is even less of a factor with crimes related to marijuana. Only one-tenth of 1 percent (0.1 percent) of State prisoners were marijuana possession offenders with no prior sentences.156
DRUG ABUSE TREATMENT
Treatment offers the best alternative for interrupting the drug use/criminal justice cycle for offenders with drug problems. Jail or prison should be a place where people can get the help they need, and offenders should ask if treatment is available. Untreated substance using offenders are more likely to relapse into drug use and criminal behavior, jeopardizing public health and safety and taxing criminal justice system resources. Additionally, treatment
154 Mumola, C.; and Karberg, J.C. Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2007.
155 Office of National Drug Control Policy. Answers to frequently asked questions about marijuana. WhiteHouse.gov. Accessed 20 April 2014.
156 Office of National Drug Control Policy. Answers to frequently asked questions about marijuana. WhiteHouse.gov. Accessed 20 April 2014.
consistently has been shown to reduce the costs associated with lost productivity, crime, and incarceration caused by drug use.157
Scientific research shows that treatment can help many drug using offenders change their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors; avoid relapse; and successfully remove themselves from a life of substance use and crime. Treatment can cut drug use in half, decrease criminal activity, and reduce arrests. It is true that legal pressure might be needed to get a person into treatment and help them stay there. Once in a treatment program, however, even those who are not initially motivated to change can become engaged in a continuing treatment process. In fact, research suggests that mandated treatment can be just as effective as voluntary admission to rehab centers.
Drug abuse treatment can be incorporated into criminal justice settings in a variety of ways. These include:
Treatment as a condition of probation
Drug courts that blend judicial monitoring and sanctions with treatment
Treatment in prison followed by community-based treatment after discharge
Treatment under parole or probation supervision.
WHY FAMILY SUPPORT IS CRITICAL
Drug use often leads to violence; separation of parents and children; loss of jobs; feelings of hopelessness; serious money problems; single parenthood and worry over childcare needs; harmful relationships; emotional and behavioral difficulties in children; and
157 National Institute on Drug Abuse. Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations: A Research-Based Guide. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse. NIH publication No. 11-5316, revised 2012.
dangerous driving that can result in the death of the drug user, family members, or innocent travelers on the road.
In 2007, 53 percent of prisoners in Federal and State prisons reported having children under the age of 18.ix Children with parents who use drugs and abuse alcohol are widely considered at high risk for a range of physical and behavioral problems, including substance use. Juvenile justice systems are also affected; as many as two-thirds of juveniles who have been detained may have a substance use disorder.
Effective treatment decreases future drug use and drug-related criminal behavior, and can improve a person’s relationship with his or her family. In addition, the family needs tools and support to help deal with the offender’s incarceration, rehabilitation, and loss of income.
MORE TREATMENT IS NEEDED
Many prisons are not making treatment a priority, despite clear benefits to offenders, their families, and communities shown in multiple studies. A 2004 survey showed that 40 percent of State and 49 percent of Federal inmates took part in some kind of drug program, but most were self-help or peer counseling groups. Only 15 percent of State prisoners and 17 percent of Federal prisoners took part in drug treatment programs with a trained professional.
Coordination between criminal justice professionals, substance abuse treatment providers, and other social service agencies can improve outcomes for people with substance use problems. By working together, the criminal justice and treatment systems can optimize resources to benefit the health, safety, and well-being of these offenders, their families, and their communities.
TREATMENT PRINCIPLES: AN OVERVIEW
Principles for Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations: A Research-Based Guide provides research-based principles of addiction treatment. The 13 principles are:
1. Drug addiction is a brain disease that affects behavior. It affects people bothphysically and mentally. It can alter the brain and body chemistry for months or even years after a person stops using, so relapse is often part of the recovery process. It should be treated like any other disease.
2. Recovery from drug addiction requires effective treatment, followed by management of the problem over time. Drug users cannot alter their behaviorwithout taking care of their addiction. Treatment that starts in prison or jail must continue after release. Treatment and recovery is hard work that must continue throughout a user’s life.
3. Treatment must last long enough to produce stable behavioral change. Withoutthe right treatment, most drug users will use again once they return to their neighborhoods, even though drugs might put them right back in prison. Treatment should last long enough (90 days or more) to help drug users learn to manage their own drug problems.
4. Assessment is the first step in treatment. Drug users need to be examined by adoctor. The doctor might prescribe medicine, and will look for other possible problems, such as depression and anxiety, or medical conditions such as hepatitis, tuberculosis, or HIV/AIDS.
5. Tailoring services to fit the needs of the individual is an important part of effective drug use treatment for criminal justice populations. Each drug user hasdifferent needs regarding addiction counseling and treatment. The best approaches
take each person’s age, gender, ethnicity, culture, and needs into account.
6. Drug use during treatment should be carefully monitored. Individuals recoveringfrom drug addiction sometimes return to drug use, called relapse. Testing for continued drug use is an important part of treatment.
7. Treatment should target factors that are associated with criminal
behavior. Offenders often have patterns of behavior, attitudes, and beliefs thatsupport a “criminal” lifestyle. Treatment that helps offenders avoid negative thinking patterns can be effective.
8. Criminal justice supervision should incorporate treatment planning for drug using offenders, and treatment providers should be aware of correctional supervision requirements. It is important that corrections personnel work withtreatment providers to make sure the individual treatment plan meets the needs of both the offender and the institution.
9. Continuity of care is essential for drug users re-entering the community. Peoplewho start receiving treatment while incarcerated need to continue treatment after release.
10. A balance of rewards and sanctions encourages pro-social behavior and treatment participation. During treatment, it is important that both positive andnegative behaviors are recognized.
11. Offenders with co-occurring drug use and mental health problems often require an integrated treatment management approach. Drug treatment can sometimeshelp people who have depression or other mental health problems. It is important that these issues are addressed in treatment programs.
12. Medications are an important part of treatment for many drug using offenders. Medicines like methadone have been shown to help reduce heroin use.Medicines for mental health issues can also be used as part of treatment.
13. Treatment planning for drug using offenders who are living in or re-entering the community should include strategies to prevent and treat serious, chronic
medical conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and
tuberculosis. Drug users and offenders are more likely to have infectious diseaseslike HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and tuberculosis. People seeking treatment should be tested for these diseases and receive counseling on risky behaviors and seeking medical advice.
WHERE TO GET TREATMENT INFORMATION
When a drug user is arrested, he or she should ask if treatment is available. The websites listed below can offer information on treatment in your area.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator (searchable directory of alcohol and drug treatment programs)www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or call the Treatment Helpline at 1-800-662-4357
National TASC/Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities (offers leadership, advocacy, and policy recommendations for innovative treatment and recovery supports that result in opportunities for justice-involved individuals with behavioral health needs to achieve healthy and productive lives with their families and communities) www.nationaltasc.org
National Institute on Drug Abuse, Principles of Adolescent Substance Use DisorderTreatment: A Research-Based Guide
DRUG/ALCOHOL ADDICTION IN INDIA – DISTURBING TREND
Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, and by neurochemical and molecular changes in the brain. Drug abusers gradually spend more and more time and energy obtaining and using the drug. Once they are addicted, the drug abusers’ primary purpose in life becomes seeking and using drugs.
Drug addiction is becoming a major health problem in India with some estimates indicating that as many as 15 million people in India could become addicts by the end of 2004. Link between drug abuse and crime is well established but recently the association between drug addiction and HIV/AIDS has been a prime concern for health authorities in India. A significant recent shift in drug use patterns in India is the move from smoking to injecting drug use. Heroin, buprenorphine (tidigesic/tamgesic) and dextropropoxyphene (spasmo-proxyvan) are the most commonly injected drugs in India. In a study of Indian opioid addicts, researchers found 8.3% of injectible drug users were HIV-positive. The drug problem and its consequences have been particularly alarming in the north-eastern states. In some states of north-east 80% of all injectible drug users were HIV positive. Trafficking from Myanmar brings in high quality heroin, which is usually injected by abusers.
The problem has now reached the higher echelons of society, along with the lower strata, and includes children, and students in urban areas. Daily wage earners/laborers, rag pickers, truck drivers, medical workers and youths are all equally susceptible to the menace of addiction. Heroin in urban areas and opium in rural areas have emerged as the two most commonly used drugs. Increasing trend of drug and alcohol, addiction in large cities, especially the metropolitan cities is alarming. A recent report on India by the UN Drug Control program cites that in Delhi, 44.7% of treatment seekers were heroin addicts while alcohol accounted for 26.4%. Mumbai is considered as the country’s major drug trafficking center. States like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh are centers for cannabis related
drugs while in northern states of U.P, Bihar and M.P, poppy (from which opium is derived) is cultivated in some areas.
Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act was passed by the parliament in 1985 and Narcotics Control Bureau was set up in 1986 to counter drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking. Traditionally opium and cannabis derivatives, LSD, Mandrax, cocaine, barbiturates etc. have been used by drug addicts. But recently use of ‘synthetics’ that include stimulants like amphetamine and its derivatives, methcathinone, varnish, paint and glue as drugs for addiction has also increased. These substances are readily available everywhere and are not covered by law.
Health problems arising due to drug/alcohol addiction depend on the type of drug that is being abused and duration of abuse. Here we will take examples of alcohol, Heroin and Amphetamine:
1) Alcohol abuse can result in psychological dependence, liver disease, (hepatitis,cirrhosis), chronic pancreatitis, gastritis and gastric ulceration, cardiovascular problems (e.g. hypertension) and neurological problems. A strong association exists between alcohol use and cancers of the esophagus, pharynx, and mouth, whereas a more controversial association links alcohol with liver, breast, and colorectal cancers. A person is generally considered to be dependent on alcohol when they have experienced three or more of the following symptoms during a year:
a strong urge to drink,
difficulty controlling drinking,
physical withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shaking, agitation and nausea when they try to reduce drinking,
a growing tolerance to alcohol (needing larger quantities to get the same effect),
gradual neglect of other activities
Persistent drinking even though it is obviously causing harm.
2) Heroin can cause – Addiction, depressed respiration, clouded mental functioning,death due to overdose, nausea and vomiting, spontaneous abortion in pregnant woman. Intravenous use can cause Infectious diseases (e.g., HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C), collapsed veins, bacterial infections, arthritis and other rheumatologic problems.
3) Long-term heavy use of amphetamines may lead to malnutrition, skin disorders, ulcers and diseases resulting from vitamin deficiencies. Regular use may contribute to lack of sleep and weight loss. Intravenous users are at risk for serious, life-threatening diseases such as AIDS, lung and heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases. Frequent use of large amounts of amphetamines may eventually result in mental illness, suicide and violent death. Amphetamine-induced psychosis is a paranoid state that may develop after ingestion or the injection of large doses of amphetamines.
People resort to drug/alcohol abuse for many reasons. Some of the reasons are –
Seeking pleasure, relaxation and adventure
Psychological disturbance (depression, social maladjustment, parental neglect etc.)
Medical problems (to overcome severe and/or chronic pain)
Children and youths trying to imitate their icons ( e.g. movie and sports stars, rock artists)
Besides these physical and health problems drug addiction is a major social problem with increase incidence of crime in drug/alcohol addicts. Drug addiction causes immense financial and psychological problems for the addict and his/her family.
So what can be done to counter this menace?
? Improvement in the existing laws is needed to plug the loopholes that would help in decreasing drug pedaling.
? Better implementation of the law by enforcement agencies.
? Active judiciary that would quickly dispose drug offence related cases and aggressively punish the guilty.
? Better rehabilitation programs for the addicts and easy access to rehabilitation centers. At present only a limited number ofrehabilitationcenterand rehabilitation programs are available for drug/alcohol addictsin India.
? Increase the public awareness regarding the hazards of drug/alcohol addiction by using mass media like television, newspapers, magazines, radio etc. e.g. You can learn a lot about heroin abuse and recovery by reading up on the subject in books, magazines, and on the Internet.
? Public figures and icons should aggressively participate the anti drug campaign.
? Social, psychological and economic support to the family of the addicts.
A concerted effort by the government, judiciary, social organization and responsible members of society is needed to control this menace.
The use of alcohol and drugs by young people brings many risks: personal, health, academic, safety, relationships and the risk of alcohol and drug addiction. One of the most significant risks is the connection between alcohol, drugs and crime. For a young person,
with your whole life in front of you, avoiding the legal risks associated with alcohol and
drugs is extremely important.
There are three types of alcohol or drug related criminal offenses:
1. Alcohol and Drug-Defined: Violations of laws prohibiting or regulating thepossession, use, distribution, or manufacture of alcohol or illegal drugs.Examples:
Alcohol or drug possession or use.Cultivation, production, distribution or sales of illegal drugs.Providing alcohol to persons under the age of 21.
2. Alcohol and Drug-Related: Violations of laws as a result of being under the influenceof alcohol or drugs, or trying to get cash to pay for alcohol or drugs.Examples:
Criminal behavior resulting from the effects of alcohol or drugs: DWI, fights, theft, vandalism, violence against friends and family. Stealing to get money to buy alcohol or drugs.Violence against rival drug dealers.
3. Alcohol and Drug-Using Lifestyle: Violations of laws as a result of living a lifestylewhere a person may not have a job or source of income and is exposed to situations and individuals that encourage crime.Examples: As a result of relationships developed through the use of alcohol or drugs, the individual has more opportunities to violate the law and learn criminal skills from other offenders.
According to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCRP) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were almost 1.7 million state and local arrests for drug abuse violations in 2009.
FACT—ALCOHOL and JAIL: According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), 37% ofalmost 2 million convicted offenders currently in jail, report that they were drinking at the time of their arrest.
FACT- DRINKING and DRIVING: In 2007, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested fordriving under the influence of alcohol or drugs which represents less than 1% of 159 millionself-reported incidents of alcohol-impaired driving in U.S. each year.
Victims of Alcohol or Drug Related Crime:
Even though you may not be the person using alcohol or drugs, or violating the law, you can certainly be a victim of an alcohol or drug-related crime. In fact, millions of people each year are victims of alcohol or drug related crime, including millions of young people.
Each year, more than 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
95% of all violent crime on college campuses involves the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim or both.
90% of acquaintance rape and sexual assault on college campuses involves the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim or both.
Every day, 36 people die, and approximately 700 are injured, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Drinking and drugged driving is the number one cause of death, injury and disability of young people under the age of 21.
The connection between alcohol, drugs and crime is clear. And, so is the connection between alcohol and drug addictionand crime. We need to break the chain that links drug addiction and crime.
However, and not surprisingly, jail alone has had little effect on reduction of
drug addiction or in promoting recovery. Holding someone in jail, without access toalcohol and drug addiction treatment, with no specific plans for treatment and recovery support upon release, is not only expensive, it’s ineffective.
For many in the criminal justice system, preventing future crime and re-arrest after release is impossible without treatment for and recovery from addiction to alcohol anddrugs.
Investing in The Solution–Not The Problem: Treatment and Recovery Our nation’s prison population has exploded beyond capacity.
1 in 100 U.S. citizens is now confined in jail or prison.
Most inmates are in prison, at least in large part, because of alcohol and drugs.
80% of offenders abuse drugs or alcohol.
Nearly 50% of jail and prison inmates are clinically addicted.
Imprisonment has little effect on alcohol and drug abuse.
Approximately 95% of inmates return to alcohol and drug use after release from prison.
Providing treatment without holding offenders accountable for their performance in
treatment is expensive and ineffective.
Unless they are regularly supervised by a judge, 60 – 80% drop out of treatment prematurely and few successfully graduate.
Source: National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP)
Balancing Accountability, Treatment and Recovery:
In response to the facts stated above, with some local NCADD Affiliates leading the local effort, Drug Court programs have been developed across the country. Drug Courts are judicially-supervised court dockets that strike the proper balance between the need to protect community safety and the need to improve public health and well-being; between the need for treatment and the need to hold people accountable for their actions; between hope and redemption on the one hand and good citizenship on the other.
Long Term Recovery: Break The Chain:
NCADD recognizes the serious impact of alcohol and drug use on crime across the nation. But, we also know, from decades of experience, millions of people who have been in the criminal justice system have broken the chain through long-term recovery from alcoholand drug addiction.
“Nine years before I was elected to Congress for the first of nine terms, I woke upfrom my last alcoholic blackout in a jail cell, under arrest for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. I am alive and sober today–almost 30 years later–only because I had access to treatment for my alcoholism.”
ALCOHOL USE IN ADOLESCENCE
The purpose of this chapter is to examine the use and misuse of alcohol by young people; to describe the harms associated with alcohol misuse and to outline policy options for both regulating the use of alcohol and reducing alcohol related harms.
WHAT IS THE QUESTION
Alcohol is widely used and misused by young New Zealanders with estimates suggesting that over 1 in 3 young people aged 12-16 engage in binge drinking 1 with a similar fraction of young people aged 16-21 engaging in hazardous drinking 2. There have been ongoing public concerns expressed about young people and alcohol in both the New Zealand media and in official reports. The growing statistical evidence and public concerns raise three important questions about alcohol and young people.
The first question concerns the extent to which alcohol use has harmful consequences for young people.
The second question concerns the best ways of regulating the purchase, supply and consumption of alcohol by young people to minimise alcohol related harms.
The third question concerns the development of prevention, treatment and related services aimed at both reducing heavy drinking by young people and providing treatment for young people with alcohol related problems.
Why is alcohol use important in the transition to adolescence?
There is growing and internationally consistent evidence to suggest that the heavy use of alcohol by young people makes substantial contributions to risks of a range of adverse conditions in adolescence. Amongst the adverse effects that have been documented are the following.
Increased risks of motor vehicle collisions, injuries and deaths
The transition to adolescence includes two rites of passage that have consequences of increasing the risks of injury and mortality from motor vehicles. First, over the period of adolescence the majority of young people begin to use alcohol as part of social activities. For example, estimates from the Christchurch Health and Development study suggest that by the age of 15 over 70% of young people reported drinking within the last year with 30% reporting drinking at least once per month. Second, the onset of drinking behaviours coincides with age at which a driving licence can be obtained with 15 being the age for acquiring a learner’s licence. The combination of these two events places adolescents at risk of drink driving with the attendant harms of motor vehicle collisions, injury and death.
INCREASED RISKS OF CRIME
There is now substantial evidence to suggest that the disinhibiting effects of alcohol place teenagers at increased risks of a range of crimes including: violence; vandalism; sexual crimes; partner violence and property crimes 8-29. This scientific evidence has been supplemented by growing amounts of video material of public areas that has documented the ways in which the misuse of alcohol fuels antisocial behaviours by young people.
INCREASED RISKS OF SEXUAL RISK TAKING
The heavy use of alcohol is also associated with increased risks of sexual risk taking including multiple sexual partnerships and unprotected sex. In turn this increased rate of sexual risk taking is associated with increases in sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and abortion.
Mental health problems and suicidal behaviours
There is increasing evidence to implicate the misuse of alcohol in the development of mental disorders such as depression and the development of suicidal behaviours in young people.
The social context within which alcohol is consumed means that not only are young drinkers at risk of behaving in at risk ways, they are also at increased risk of becoming the victims of drink driving and alcohol fuelled crimes
In reviewing the risks associated with teenage drinking in New Zealand the recent Law Commission’s report concludes:
“One of the greatest challenges we face around alcohol is how to reconcile the new evidence of the risks alcohol presents to young people with our cultural norms. Drinking to intoxication is commonly seen in our society as a rite of passage and drinking to intoxication is not only socially accepted but expected. New research has shown that young people experience more harm per standard drink than older drinkers. The highest risk is for those under 15 years but there is still an elevated risk of harm per drink for young people up to the age of 25 years.”(p. 83)
In addition, the Law Commission notes:
“It is hard to think of any other lawful product available in our society that contributes to so many social ills. While alcohol misuse is only one of several risk factors contributing to these harms, alcohol distinguishes itself because, like many other factors associated with crime, injury and social dysfunction, the harmful use of alcohol is a modifiable risk factor.” (p. 7)
What is the scale of the problem?
A number of New Zealand publications have sought to estimate the fraction of young people who are at risk because of the heavy consumption of alcohol 1, 2, 18, 53-59. However, different studies have used some different approaches. In studies of younger teenagers, rates of binge drinking have been used to assess the size of alcohol related problems. For example the Youth 2007 survey reports 34% of young people age 12 to 17 engaged in binge drinking in the last month where binge drinking was defined as drinking more than 5 alcoholic drinks in four hours 1. The New Zealand Mental Health Survey (Te Rau Hinengaro) reported a range of measures applied to 16 to 24 year olds 2, 55. These measures include assessment of the number of young people engaging in hazardous drinking as well as those meeting formal diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse and dependence. Te Rau Hinengaro found that 79% of young people aged 16-24 drank in the previous 12 months and 49% of those drinkers drank hazardously in that period. The same study showed that, regardless of drinking status, nearly 17% had ever met DSM IV criteria for alcohol abuse with 6.5% having met criteria for alcohol dependence. These figures clearly suggest that over a third of young New Zealanders are at risk of alcohol related problems each year because of their binge drinking and/or hazardous drinking. The percentage who will have met formal
diagnostic criteria for an alcohol related disorder by the time they are 25 years of age will be well over 20%.
All of these figures are indicative of a large and growing problem with the misuse of alcohol by young people 53, 54. Given the consequences of the misuse of alcohol by young people for a wide range of outcomes, finding constructive ways of means of regulating the use of alcohol by young people and mitigating the adverse effects of alcohol misuse is a matter of high priority in the area of adolescent policy.
What does research tell us about causative factors?
There has been extensive research into the factors associated with the use and misuse of alcohol by young people. These factors include the following.
There has been growing evidence from both twin studies and behavioural genetic research to suggest genetic factors may play an important role in determining individual susceptibility to alcohol abuse and dependence 60-65. Estimates suggest that up to 60% of the variation in alcohol abuse and dependence may be accounted for by genetic factors 66. It is likely that genetic factors interact with environmental influences so that those most at risk of alcohol related problems are both genetically susceptible to these problems and are exposed to social environments that encourage the misuse of alcohol.
There is extensive evidence which suggests higher rates of alcohol misuse amongst certain groups within the population. Males are more likely to misuse alcohol than females although recent evidence suggests that the gender gap in this area is reducing amongst young people 68-72. Young people from socially disadvantaged background characterised by low
family income and socio-economic status are at greater risk. In New Zealand young M?ori have rates of alcohol abuse and dependence that are higher than those of non M?oriFamily
A large amount of research suggests that the nature and quality of the family environment plays an important role in predisposing young people to the misuse of alcohol. Factors associated with alcohol misuse by young people include: parental alcohol problems; early age of first drink; family dysfunction, childhood maltreatment and related conditions.
Amongst adolescents peer affiliations play an important role in the development of substance use and abuse, with young people who affiliate with substance using friends and acquaintances being at increased risks of the use and misuse of alcohol.
Access to alcohol
There is extensive evidence to suggest that factors that influence the availability and figures clearly suggest that over a third of young New Zealanders are at risk of alcohol related problems each year because of their binge drinking and/or hazardous drinking. The percentage who will have met formal diagnostic criteria for an alcohol related disorder by the time they are 25 years of age will be well over 20%.
All of these figures are indicative of a large and growing problem with the misuse of alcohol by young people 53, 54. Given the consequences of the misuse of alcohol by young people for a wide range of outcomes, finding constructive ways of means of regulating the use of alcohol by young people and mitigating the adverse effects of alcohol misuse is a matter of high priority in the area of adolescent policy.
What does research tell us about causative factors?
There has been extensive research into the factors associated with the use and misuse of alcohol by young people. These factors include the following.
There has been growing evidence from both twin studies and behavioural genetic research to suggest genetic factors may play an important role in determining individual susceptibility to alcohol abuse and dependence. Estimates suggest that up to 60% of the variation in alcohol abuse and dependence may be accounted for by genetic factors. It is likely that genetic factors interact with environmental influences so that those most at risk of alcohol related problems are both genetically susceptible to these problems and are exposed to social environments that encourage the misuse of alcohol.
There is extensive evidence which suggests higher rates of alcohol misuse amongst certain groups within the population. Males are more likely to misuse alcohol than females although recent evidence suggests that the gender gap in this area is reducing amongst young people. Young people from socially disadvantaged background characterised by low family income and socio-economic status are at greater risk. In New Zealand young M?ori have rates of alcohol abuse and dependence that are higher than those of non M?ori.
A large amount of research suggests that the nature and quality of the family environment plays an important role in predisposing young people to the misuse of alcohol. Factors associated with alcohol misuse by young people include: parental alcohol problems; early age of first drink; family dysfunction, childhood maltreatment and related conditions.
Amongst adolescents peer affiliations play an important role in the development of substance use and abuse, with young people who affiliate with substance using friends and acquaintances being at increased risks of the use and misuse of alcohol.
Access to alcohol
There is extensive evidence to suggest that factors that influence the availability and accessibility of teenagers to alcohol play an important role in the development of alcohol use and misuse in this group. These factors include: (i) the price of alcohol; (ii) the legal drinking age; (iii) the availability of liquor outlets; (iv) licensing hours; (v) the enforcement of alcohol laws; and (vi) advertising. This research makes it abundantly clear that the ways in which the access of young people to alcohol is regulated, can play an important role in influencing rates of alcohol use and misuse in this population.
The major conclusions that emerge from research into the causative factors involved in the development of alcohol use and misuse are likely to involve a complex interplay of biological, social, familial, peer and other factors which combine to determine rates of alcohol use and misuse in the adolescent population. Consideration of these factors suggests that approaches which focus on regulating the access of young people to alcohol offer the greatest potential for minimising alcohol misuse in this population.
Prevention, treatment and management of alcohol use/misuse in adolescence
There is a large and extensive literature on the effective policies for the regulation of alcohol and the prevention, treatment and management of alcohol related problems. This material has been ably summarised in the award-winning text Alcohol – No Ordinary Commodity 91. Chapter 16 of that text provides an overview and summary of the
effectiveness of 42 strategies and policies that have been used around the world for the regulation, prevention and treatment of alcohol misuse. Key conclusions of this review are summarised below.
Increased alcohol taxation
There is consistent evidence from around the world that increasing the taxation of alcohol (and thence the price of alcohol) is one of the most effective methods for reducing alcohol consumption and related harms. This approach has been found to be more effective in reducing heavy drinking and is likely to be effective in reducing alcohol consumption amongst younger drinkers 92-95.
Regulating the availability of alcohol
There is also strong evidence that regulating the availability of alcohol also has benefits in reducing alcohol consumption and harm. The evidence suggests that by restricting the hours of sale, the times of the day when alcohol is sold and the location of alcohol sale premises and similar factors it is possible to reduce levels of consumption and rates of alcohol related problems 96-99. A form of alcohol regulation that is used widely is regulation of the legal age at which alcohol can be purchased. There is good evidence from US-based research that raising the minimum drinking age to 21 and adequately enforcing the law leads to reductions in alcohol related harms amongst young people 100-104.
The regulation of drink driving
A further move that has been shown to be effective in reducing alcohol related harms is restrictions on drink driving including lowering the legal breath alcohol concentration and ensuring that drink driving laws are visibly enforced by the use of check points, random breath tests and strong penalties 105-108. With respect to adolescents it has been proposed
that zero tolerance policies regarding breath alcohol concentrations are alcohol availability;
(4) reduce marketing and advertising; (5) increase drink-driving countermeasures + (increased treatment opportunities for heavy drinkers).
Both the Law Commission report and the advocacy by Alcohol Action draw heavily from the evidence base reviewed in the previous section.
IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE POLICY
It is clear that the misuse of alcohol by young New Zealanders poses a major social and health problem that requires urgent attention. The foundations for change and reform have been well developed in the Law Commission report and summarised in the advocacy of Alcohol Action’s 5+ plan. Key areas of reform that are likely to have an impact on alcohol misuse in adolescence are:
o increasing the cost of alcohol;
o raising the drinking age and the age at which alcohol may be purchased to 21 years;
oadopting a zero-tolerance policy for drink driving by under 21 year olds; o further restriction on the advertising of alcohol;
o greater regulation of hours of sale and supply of alcohol in licensed premises frequented by young people; and
o greater investment in treatment for young people with significant alcohol related problems.
It is also important that greater investment is made into research and evaluation to document the consequences of policy change. The reduction of the drinking age to 18 in 1999 provides a clear example of the need for evaluation to be built into policy change. Whilst the reduction of the drinking age to 18 was a major social policy change, no clear plan was
developed to evaluate the consequences of this change. Whilst a number of evaluations have been conducted e.g. 141-143 these have been limited because of problems of data quality and data availability. In turn, the lack of systematic evaluation of the evidence has complicated the process of policy debate and reform. It may be suggested that had a clear plan been developed for evaluating the consequences of 1999 reforms with this information being provided to Parliament, many of the debates and concerns that have been expressed about further changes to the law could have been addressed by evidence rather than opinion. For these reasons it is important that when major policy change is contemplated evaluation is built into the policy change process so that clear conclusions may be drawn about the effectiveness or otherwise of policy change. If applied consistently this strategy could result in an evolutionary process in which good policies are strengthened and reinforced by research evidence whilst poor policies are identified and discarded.
ADDICTION AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
In 1914, Congress passed the Harrison Anti-Narcotic Act to reduce the negative social and medical consequences associated with drug abuse. This law allowed the Federal government to regulate narcotic drug sales.
In 1939, the Assistant Surgeon General commented on the ensuing state of addiction treatment, noting that addicts who violated this Act “were at first sent to prison, where their real needs were neglected. They were treated there as prisoners deserving punishment rather than as patients who needed treatment. . . .The result was, too often, prompt relapse on discharge, with a vicious circle of other violations and prison confinements that continued the ruin started by narcotics.”
In recent decades, the number of adults involved in the criminal justice system has soared from about 1.8 million in 1980 to 7.3 million in 2007, due largely to prosecutions of drug-related crimes and drug-addicted offenders. Criminal offenders have rates of substance abuse and dependence that are more than four times that of the general population.
Drug abuse and crime continue to be linked; and although addiction is recognized as a chronic, relapsing disease, offenders are still not getting the treatment they need.
Chronic drug abuse causes long-lasting brain changes that contribute to an addicted person’s compulsion to seek and use drugs despite catastrophic consequences. These brain changes persist long after drug abuse ends, leading to high rates of relapse (as with other chronic diseases) and the need for continuing treatment to help an individual achieve recovery.
More and better treatment is needed in the criminal justice system, and continuing through the period of re-entry into the community. It is estimated that about half of state and federal prisoners meet the criteria for drug abuse and dependence and yet fewer than 20 percent who need treatment receive it.
As in the general population, co-occurring substance use and other mental disorders are common, with about 45% of inmates in local jails and State prisons having both. In addition, about 75% of inmates with a mental illness also meet criteria for substance abuse, and vice-versa. This high rate of co-occurrence underscores the need for offenders, both adults and juveniles, suffering from one disorder to be screened for the other and, where appropriate, treated for both, necessitating an integrated treatment approach.
Involvement in the criminal justice system provides an opportunity to diagnose and treat these health problems, which also include infectious diseases like HIV. Fourteen percent of HIV-infected individuals pass through correctional facilities each year, and yet criminal justice–based services and community health and social services remain fragmented.
Treatment works, is cost-effective, and can help end the vicious cycle of drug abuse and criminal recidivism.
Research demonstrates that treatment can work for drug abusing offenders, even when it is entered involuntarily. Forced abstinence (when it occurs) during incarceration is not equivalent to treatment. Failure to receive needed treatment or access to services often leads to relapse and re-arrest, usually during the first 12 months after release.
Juvenile Offenders: Virtually every juvenile offender should be screened for drug abuse and mental disorders, and receive an intervention:
Treatment for those who are dependent on alcohol or drugs, or mentally ill.Drug abuse prevention for those who are not.
HIV prevention or treatment as needed.
Longitudinal studies show that treatment begun in the criminal justice system and continued in the community garners lasting reductions in criminal activity and drug abuse. This includes medication-assisted treatment (i.e., methadone) for prisoners with heroin addiction.
Providing treatment is cost-effective, saving between $2 and $6 for every $1 spent on it, which in part reflects reductions in criminal behavior and re-incarceration.
Getting proven treatments into the criminal justice system will promote abstinence, help identify and mitigate related diseases like HIV, and foster productive reintegration back into the community.
Working together, public health and criminal justice systems will make evidence-based treatments, including medications, available to the offender population—an effort being promoted through a NIDA-led multisite, interagency research initiative known as CJ-DATS—Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (http://www.cjdats.org/Wiki%20Pages/Home.aspx). CJ-DATS seeks to test proven treatments and implementation strategies within the criminal justice system and remove the barriers to their adoption.
Novel medications to enhance recovery for drug-addicted offenders will include “depot medications,” or long-acting varieties for opiate and other addictions. With effects that last for weeks instead of hours, depot formulations promote adherence because patients do not need to motivate themselves daily to stick to a treatment regimen. And since there are no take-home daily medications, the potential for diversion and abuse is reduced. Depot naltrexone (marketed as Vivitrol for alcoholism), was recently approved by the FDA for heroin addiction. Ongoing research also aims to develop a long-acting version of buprenorphine, as well as addiction “vaccines” able to make antibodies that bind to specific drugs in the bloodstream preventing their entry into the brain—with effects that can last for months. Vaccines to counter cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin abuse are under study.
The overrepresentation of both drug abuse and HIV within criminal justice populations demands better strategies to integrate services and improve outcomes for both. A novel approach known as “seek, test, treat” aims to reach out to high-risk, hard-to-reach
groups who have not been recently tested, test them for HIV, and initiate and maintain HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) for those testing positive. Prison settings offer a good opportunity to integrate substance use treatment with early HIV diagnosis and treatment initiation and will be a fertile testing ground for this innovative strategy with, to include reliable maintenance of treatment in the community.
The existence of an association between drug use and involvement in crime is widely accepted. Many studies have repeatedly established a close relationship between drugs and crime.
But what is the nature of this relationship? Does drug use cause or lead to crime? Or does crime lead to drug use? Could it be that those who use drugs and those who are inclined to be criminals just happen to share many characteristics in common? Properly answering these questions has important public policy implications.
There is a general belief that the drug-crime link is causal. More importantly, it is assumed that drug use causes crime. The criminological evidence to support this belief is not as strong as some might imagine. In fact, the best available research has generally concluded that the relationship is extremely complex and defies attempts to sort out directionality.
The common view, widely reflected in policy approaches here and overseas, is that at the very least drug use makes criminal involvement worse. Therefore action to reduce drug involvement (either through law enforcement or treatment) will probably reduce offending although it might not reduce the overall number of offenders.
Consequently one single model cannot account for the drug-crime relationship. Rather there are multiple paths that lead to drug use and crime. Research suggests that drug use and crime involvement have common origins. Factors such as poor social support systems, difficulty in school, membership of deviant peer groups, early contact with government
services and a lack of access to economic support systems are common in the backgrounds of both drug users and criminals.
Action to address drugs and crime therefore must be a balanced mixture of measures designed to address long-term underlying causes as much as the immediate problems through education, law enforcement and treatment. This is reflected in many current Australian policy responses to the prevention and reduction of drug-crime problems. These include significant efforts to divert drug users from further involvement in drug use as a way of reducing criminal involvement.
The next two AICrime reduction matters (no. 23 and no. 24) look at current Australian examples of drug-crime diversionary programs and the drug court approach in particular.
There is no magic policy bullet to kill the drug problem. Drug use has been a continuous feature of American life, and is best viewed as a chronic condition (Zimring and Hawkins 1992:191). Furthermore, the drug problem inevitably changes over time, both in terms of the substances consumed and the social costs associated with their use. There are a number of policy recommendations, however, that clearly can be made in light of the reality of scarce law enforcement resources and the absence of a strong causal relationship between drugs and crime.
Recall that several studies of the temporal sequencing of drug use and nondrug crime among people who commit both types of offenses suggest that for the majority, nondrug crime occurs before drug use starts. And this is not simply a matter of hours or days in which
a person desiring drugs can accumulate money to make a buy. The implication is that as individuals, especially juveniles, get involved in the subculture of crime, they find that the criminal justice system actually does not appear to pose any real threat to them. Juveniles, in particular, are apparently very myopic. They consider only the immediate costs and benefits of their actions. When they learn that there are no real costs associated with committing crimes, even when they are arrested (because as first-time and even multiple-time offenders they get off with no real punishment) they tend to focus only on the immediate benefits of the crime. Many also eventually begin to experiment with drugs.
A policy of punishing youthful offenders for their first or second offense might teach them that they will have to pay for their crimes. This might not only divert them from further crime, but also move them out of the crime subculture where they are likely to find their way into drug use. By letting young people commit several offenses before they are punished, a criminal cohort is created that has few options other than crime. Shifting criminal justice resources away from a focus on drugs toward a focus on nondrug crime, including early intervention and “treatment” of such crimes (perhaps traditional punishment, but perhaps alternatives such as work programs to earn money for mandated restitution to victims, as well as efforts to enhance literacy), could actually prevent the development both of more serious criminal activities and of drug use among such criminals.
The number of juveniles under custody is one measure of the punishment youthful offenders face. In this regard, Kansas follows a strategy that results in a relatively high level of youthful incarceration. Figure 4 shows that Kansas had 329 delinquent offenders per 100,000 juveniles in custody in 1989, compared to a national average of 259—a 27 percent differential. Kansas is also more likely to have youthful status offenders in custody—58 per 100,000 juveniles in Kansas compared to 36 for the nation. If the old adage “a stitch in time
saves nine” is relevant to the criminal justice system, it would appear that the relatively more custodial resources Kansas spends on youthful offenders are relatively well spent.
Resources to combat drug crime are limited, so the cost effectiveness of law enforcement efforts relative to drug treatment is an important policy issue. A recent RAND study concluded that a significant portion of current expenditures on drug abatement would be better spent on treatment than on law enforcement (Rydell and Everingham 1994). The RAND study estimates that an additional $34 million expenditure on treatment would reduce U.S. cocaine consumption by 1 percent, while a similar reduction would be gained by a $246 million expenditure on domestic law enforcement. Thus, treatment is estimated to combat cocaine use about seven times more effectively than is law enforcement.
Treatment is relatively more effective because it cuts consumption directly, while law enforcement works by raising the price of drug offenses. Cutting drug use may reduce other crime directly to the degree that some property and violent offenders commit more crimes when their drug consumption is highest. Putting these users in supervised treatment can reduce their criminal activity while in treatment, and if treatment helps reduce their dependence on illicit drugs, a long-term effect may also arise. Perhaps just as important is the fact that treatment reduces the unintended consequences of enforcement. Raising the cost of using cocaine through more intensive law enforcement efforts may cause users to substitute some other illicit substance, with the result being, for example, higher heroin use. Since the demand for mind-altering substances is not quenched by enforcement, users have an incentive to seek lower-cost alternatives to the substances that are most effectively discouraged by police efforts. In contrast, cocaine consumption is cut during the treatment process while at the same time undermining the demand for substitute drugs.
The RAND study does not suggest that law enforcement efforts necessarily should be abandoned in favor of treatment, however. Many heavy users may refuse treatment, and law enforcement can provide an effective inducement to seek treatment. About 30 percent of law enforcement dollars spent on U.S. drug control could profitably be shifted to treatment, according to RAND estimates. Because drug problems vary greatly among jurisdictions, this specific estimate should not be uncriti-cally applied in Kansas. An increasing role for treatment alternatives in Kansas drug policy should nonetheless be explored.
A promising way of combining the cost effectiveness of treatment with the compulsion of the criminal justice system is the innovative Drug Court in Dade County, Florida. This program is described by Finn and Newlyn (1993) and was evaluated by the Crime and Justice Research Institute (Goldkamp and Weiland 1993). The Drug Court was founded in 1989 by Florida’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit in order to reduce the circuit’s rising caseload generated by the large volume of drug offenders. This was to be accomplished by providing a range of services and support to shut the revolving door through which drug offenders repeatedly encounter the criminal justice system. The premise behind this program is “that investing a year of comprehensive treatment coupled with close surveillance in these cases—instead of a few hours—would pay off in the long run with reduced costs to the police, courts, and jail as more and more drug users kicked the habit” (Finn and Newlyn 1993:11). Treatment and intensive support are designed to move defendants through detoxification to eventual job placement.
Three fundamental aspects of the Drug Court are designed to facilitate its goals. First, the traditional adversarial relations of the courtroom are put aside, and all players in the system are theoretically on the same side: that of the defendant in pursuit of a drug- and crime-free life. Defendants talk directly with the judge. The public defender’s role is not to exact a better deal for the defendant; like all the others, it is to keep the defendant out of the
courts and off of drugs. Second, no program participant can be dismissed from treatment without the judge’s approval. This means that program staff cannot lighten their work loads by merely dumping recidivists back into the courts and prisons. Finally, the program expects intermittent lapses as defendants return to drug use, and gives them multiple chances. The program’s philosophy seems to be “do what it takes” rather than a specific course of treatment to be followed by all participants with “failures” being punished by a prison sentence. Lapses are regarded not as program failures, but as part of the normal detoxification process. Indeed, two-week stints in jail (“motivational jail”) may be required, often more than once, when the offender is unable to stay drug-free in the first phase of the program. Since the usual practice outside the Drug Court was to impose no jail time for first offenders, this practice tends to increase short-term costs in anticipation of long-term savings.
It was suggested above that the undesirable consequences of a drug war are quite significant. The question becomes: Why do law enforcement policy makers wage such wars? One inducement to wage a drug war can be traced to taxpayers’ reluctance to fund law enforcement agencies at a level that allows them to pursue all types of crime. This has turned police into entrepreneurial agencies as they focus on the pursuit of asset seizures to expand their budgets. In this regard, the U.S. attorney general has argued that asset forfeiture is a valuable “double- barreled weapon” against crime. One weapon presumably is the deterrence effect of taking away ill-gotten gains; the second is the “reinvestment” of the proceeds into the law enforcement effort. Research reported by Benson, Rasmussen, and Sollars (1995); Rasmussen, Benson, and Mast (1994); and Rasmussen and Benson (1994, chapter 6) suggests a very different interpretation, however. Police agencies have changed their priorities because of the incentives created by federal and state changes in asset seizure laws, resulting in increased drug law enforcement with a possible decline in public safety.
A section of the Comprehensive Crime Act of 1984 established a system whereby any local police bureau that cooperated with federal drug enforcement authorities in a drug investigation would share in the money and/or property confiscated as part of that investigation. As a result, police in many states whose own laws or constitutions limited confiscation possibilities began to circumvent state laws by having federal authorities “adopt” their seizures. Thus, under the 1984 federal statute, a substantial percentage of these seized properties went to the agencies that seized them, even if the state’s laws mandated that confiscations go someplace other than to law enforcement. Benson, Rasmussen, and Sollars (1995) contend that this legisla-tion was the primary stimulus for the nationwide upsurge in drug control effort that began in 1984.
Since there is significant variation in drug enforcement activity across states and cities, as well as through time, it follows that if this argument actually provides a strong explanation of drug enforcement policy, it should help explain cross-sectional variation in enforcement policy as well as time series variation. Since federally “adopted” seizures are only partially turned over to the local police (the federal authorities extract a 20 percent handling charge), police in states whose own laws allow them to retain seized assets are able to obtain even greater benefits from seizures than police who must involve federal authorities in the process. Rasmussen, Benson, and Mast (1994) explored this issue using a statistical model of the demand for and supply of drug law enforcement in a sample of large U.S. cities. Included in the model are variables that control for the extent of drug use, the opportunity cost of police resources, and socioeconomic factors affecting the demand for drug law enforcement. They report that the level of drug use, as measured by the percentage of arrestees testing positive for any illicit drug use, is a highly significant determinant of drug arrests. More important, they find that a state law that allows the police to keep any portion of seized assets raises the drug-arrest/total-arrest ratio between 35 and 50 percent. Allowing
police to profit from the confiscation of assets from alleged drug offenders apparently provides a powerful incentive to law enforcement agencies which, as expected, changes agency behavior.
In light of this evidence, the inclusion of asset forfeiture as a desirable strategy in a U.S. Department of Justice (1992) report titled Combating Violent Crime was inappropriate. The incentives created by asset forfeitures do not encourage law enforcement agencies to focus on violent crime, but rather, they focus relatively more effort against drug markets because of the large amounts of money involved in drug markets, undermining efforts to fight crime against persons in two ways. First, as police seek revenues via confiscations, leading to a reallocation of policing effort to-ward drug crimes relative to other crimes, the impacts described in Section V above are the inevitable consequence. Second, since juveniles have few assets, efforts to expand seizures lead to a focus on adults in the drug market, producing adult drug arrests (which are relatively easily prosecuted) and contributing to the prison overcrowding that has resulted in the early release of some violent criminals in many states.
Rather than being a double-barreled weapon against crime, asset forfeiture might at best be described as a single-barreled weapon with a very strong kick. Deterrence effects of forfeitures may be strong (although evidence of even this effect is not available), and thus a significant weapon against drug offenses if offenders believe that the probability of a seizure occurring is significant. The kick from the asset forfeiture weapon, at least when police are allowed to keep the proceeds, is that enforcement efforts are distorted toward drug offenses, away from crimes in which some person is, at least potentially, explicitly victimized.
As of 1991, Kansas law dictated that seized assets go to the law enforcement trust fund in the political subdivision (e.g., state, county, local) whose agency made the seizure. One partial solution to the apparent reallocation of policing resources in Kansas toward a
growing emphasis on drug crime is straightforward, and still on the books in several other states: change the seizure law to mandate that proceeds must go to general revenue rather than to the arresting agency. This retains the deterrent weapon while eliminating the distorting effect of asset forfeiture on the allocation of police resources among crimes (a similar reform is needed for the federal enforcement agencies as well, and the federal adoption of state and local seizures should be stopped). Of course, local budget-setting authorities may want to reward police for their efforts to enhance general revenues through seizures, but at least police will have to compete for the revenue by convincing an oversight authority that their focus on seizures is an appropriate one; and if they cannot do so, they have incentives to redirect their efforts.
Public Safety versus Arrests and Seizures
The nature of bargaining over police budgets in the public sector influences the allocation of police resources. For police, an appeal of keeping the proceeds of seized assets is that discretionary budgets can be enhanced without having to justify their need in the face of competing demands from other community agencies. However, putting seizures into the general fund so that police must compete for them does not solve all of the problems of police resource allocation. Statistical studies of police budgets suggest that budgets rise with higher measures of productivity (as measured by outputs such as arrests and seizures) as well as with increased “need” (as measured by crime rates).
Budget bargaining over these measures of productivity and need has unfortunate consequences. For example, police agencies tend to be better off from a budget perspective if they arrest offenders after crimes are committed, rather than defending communities by preventing crime from occurring in the first place (Sherman 1983). Arrests for possession of small quantities of marijuana may be as effective in these negotiations as arrests for a
burglary, but searching for a burglar may be far more time consuming than finding drug offenders in open-air markets. The best police strategy to compete for public dollars might be to make as many arrests as possible and make sure that highly publicized crimes are solved. Indeed, by focusing on drug enforcement, both measures of output (e.g., arrests, drugs seized, assets seized) and measures of need (crime rates) can rise, as explained in Section V, because with more police resources devoted to drug control, other crimes are less effectively deterred. Therefore, the budget-setting process itself also perverts police incentives.
Changing the budget negotiating process at the local level requires political action at the local level. A focus on local patrol (perhaps by officers on foot) and community involvement—to prevent crime rather than waiting to respond and arrest—requires that the budgetary evaluation of police performance change to include more qualitative evidence and less reliance on quantitative measures. Political action by communities that demand safer streets can encourage police to alter their strate-gies, concentrating their efforts to ensure public safety and putting a somewhat lower priority on making arrests and seizures, or fighting drugs per se. For instance, Tampa’s drug problem had become so bad by the end of the 1980s—after several years of drug war—that community leaders began to put increasing pressure on the equally frustrated police. The result was an innovative program that was focused on community involvement for the purpose of making neighborhoods safer. Police officials knew that drug use might not be significantly changed by such a program. Indeed, they expected that “the best that might happen to the drug trade would be that it moved indoors. That seemed, nonetheless, a worthy goal” (Kennedy 1993:18).
Legislation of Sentencing Policy
Legislators at the federal and state levels often are enthusiastic supporters of legislation that symbolically gets tough on crime, while being understandably reluctant to
finance more criminal justice resources through higher taxes. Their abuse of the system comes in many forms. Legislators’ aversion to having constituents pay for tougher enforcement raises the appeal of the asset forfeiture legislation just discussed, for instance, because it appears to make incremental police activities “self-financing.” The actual results, however, are greater police efforts against drugs relative to other crimes, with the likely consequence of making the community less safe. Legislatures have further abused the criminal justice system by passing mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, making it easy for prosecutors to get convictions for lesser crimes via plea or charge bargaining. The result is that more drug offenders are easily prosecuted, producing prison overcrowding and, in many states, the early release of relatively dangerous offenders.
Legislatures actually have the power to codify, by statute, a mechanism that would move the allocation of scarce prison space toward its highest and best use. Sentencing guidelines are well suited to this task, in theory at least, although in fact they emerged in the United States after 1975 largely in an attempt to limit judicial discretion, and later alterations have reflected symbolic actions to demonstrate get-tough approaches to crime. If guidelines were to be used as a mechanism for allocating prison space, they would have been written in a way that determined the relative seriousness of crimes and criminal histories in light of prison capacity restrictions. If guidelines are promulgated without reference to prison capacity, they become a symbolic wish list, unrelated to the reality of punishment. The result is prison crowding, so desired sentences are subverted by early release and other methods of controlling the prison population.
No state has had the political will to provide such a system. Minnesota, a state with admirable intentions in this regard, set up its guidelines to allow for a constant prison population, although they could adjust over time with population growth. Tonry (1988) reports that Minnesota’s matching of penalties with prison resources recognized the
inevitable trade-offs in incarceration policy, but the original intent was undermined by the desire of subsequent legislatures to increase penalties for drug and sex offenders without regard to prison capacity. This is not surprising. Legislators can avoid the impasse in corrections by being able to promise constituents tougher penalties for some crimes without having to confront voters with the stark reality: pay more taxes to build additional prisons, give up other public services, or abuse the prison system, which could include the early release of some prisoners.
Kansas instituted a guidelines system in 1993. How successful it will be can be determined only by observing legislative changes in the guidelines and their relationship with prison capacity in the future. But there is an alternative solution. Rather than attempting to develop and maintain a statewide mechanism for rationing the state’s prisons, the allocation of prison space might be localized by making prosecutors and/or judges responsible for rationing scarce prison resources.
Prosecutors and judges have what is perhaps the clearest incentive to abuse the prison system. Consider an example. A person is charged with writing a bad check. The prosecutor, seeing that the person has had a lengthy record of such offenses, decides to prosecute. The judge recognizes that this offense is not “very” serious, but is so frustrated with the continued unlawful behavior that the offender is sent to prison. Because the state prison system is under court order to limit its prison population, an early-release mechanism releases an inmate in order to make room for the bad-check writer. A violent criminal who has served a substantial period of time is released, but to a county in another part of the state. Neither the prosecutor nor the judge has to consider the consequences of the decision in this case because another community is most likely to suffer the consequences. This example, unfortunately, closely
approximates an actual series of events in Florida involving Charlie Street. Within several days of his release in 1988, he killed two policemen.
Would the prosecutor and the judge have behaved differently if they knew that the person to be released would be returned to their own community, where the people who voted them into office would be directly affected? The answer would surely be yes. What prosecutor would like to seek reelection when the opponent could argue that the incumbent is willing to let out a murderer to punish a bad-check writer? Judges would likewise consider that bad press. Stopping the abuse of the prison system requires that prosecutors and judges consider the consequences of their actions: what are the costs of incarceration and who might be let out early when a person is convicted to a prison term?
Zero tolerance may be appealing politically, but it is an unattainable goal under any conceivable condition. Furthermore, at the margin at least, drug use itself is apparently more effectively reduced through treatment than through law enforcement (Rydell and Everingham 1994). To the degree that making the possession and consumption of drugs felonies diverts users from treatment programs into the prison system, decriminalization clearly should be considered as a method of decreasing drug use. Decriminalization would have the added benefit of freeing up scarce criminal justice resources in order to focus on violent and property crimes.
The inevitable reactions of drug entrepreneurs to increased enforcement suggest that at the very least, criminal justice drug enforcement efforts might best be aimed at the drugs that are most objectionable. Trends in price and use suggest that law enforcement has had considerable effect on the marijuana market over the past decade, but this very success probably led to increases in both the demand for and supply of cocaine (and alcohol ). The
opposite can also be expected: reducing the probability of arrest and/or severity of punishment for marijuana should lead to reductions in the use of other drugs. Indeed, Model (1993) found that decriminalization of marijuana, which had occurred in some states during the 1970s, was associated with lower numbers of emergency room episodes related to other kinds of illegal drugs. The available evidence from decriminalization in these states and in parts of Europe suggests that there are few adverse consequences that would accompany an experiment with decriminalizing marijuana.
Getting tough on drugs has had the inevitable consequence of getting soft on nondrug crimes. But because of the nature of criminal justice resources, part of the costs of a jurisdiction’s drug war are shifted onto citizens in other jurisdictions. In this political and institutional environment, suggestions like those made above are likely to fall on deaf ears. The fact is that effective reform of drug policy is likely to require fundamental institutional reforms. Indeed, the current trend toward centralization of criminal justice, with more laws and funds coming from Washington, and from state capitals, will have to be reversed.
Criminal justice problems in general and drug problems in particular are ubiquitous, but they vary considerably across the nation, and the impacts of many specific problems are, in fact, highly localized. Therefore, state-level decisions on criminal justice are likely to conform to the characteristics of a state’s crime problems much more accurately than are congressional mandates. A highly urbanized state like New York or New Jersey has a very different set of problems to deal with than a very rural state like North Dakota or Wyoming. A state like Kansas, with both large rural areas and significant urban development, faces yet a different mix of problems. Why should we expect that a homogeneous policy emanating from Washington, D.C. would suit any of these kinds of states very well? And state-level actions may be undesirable for the same reasons that federal actions are undesirable. The solution lies not in state policy per se, but in decentralization: increased reliance on local government.
A policy of localization means that the officials who are elected locally are the ones who make both the taxing and the spending decisions that affect local citizens. Clearly, writing a letter to a county commissioner or a city council member is far more likely to stimulate a real response than writing to a state legislator or a member of Congress. The reason is that local officials can be held accountable for their actions, at least much more
effectively than Congress or state legislators can. In this light, a policy that forces a local court to decide which of its prisoners to release when another prisoner is added to a crowded prison will induce the local judge and prosecutor to recognize the consequences of their decisions. They will no longer have incentives to simply maximize the number of convicts that they can ship off to a shared state prison. Similarly, a police department that gets both its funding and its mandates regarding policing priorities exclusively through local channels is more likely to be responsive to the wishes of local citizens.
The fact is that it is difficult to determine whether a policy is effective or not when the costs of some resources are localized while the costs of others are dispersed and involve common-access resources. Thus, experimentation is limited and there are fewer alternatives against which to compare any one policy. Decentralization means that alternative policies are much more likely to be tried, so information about the consequences of various policy options is more likely to be available. If experiments with treatment alternatives to prison tend to reduce drug and crime problems more effectively than a “lock-them-up” approach, for instance, then given that the “lock-them-up” jurisdiction cannot export the costs of its approach, citizens are much more likely to find out about successful polices and demand similar ones. Today, many states face the legacy of the 1984–89 drug war that continues to plague their criminal justice systems: mandatory sentences for drug crimes, federal and state seizure laws, and other legislative actions produced in an effort to appear tough on drugs mean that drug control activity is not likely to return to its pre-1984 level, let alone to a level that might be an appropriate reflection of the true costs and benefits of drug enforcement. Indeed, unlike most states, Kansas has continued to increase its drug control efforts since the 1980s, so the state’s costs are probably continuing to mount. Significant changes in the institutionalized incentives facing criminal justice decision makers, from legislators down to patrol officers, are required to rationalize the system.
Kansas appears to be different from the “average” in other ways as well. For instance, unlike in most states, drug enforcement in Kansas is not particularly concentrated in larger cities: drug arrest rates in Topeka (229) and Wichita (217) were below the state average in 1989, while that of Kansas City (430) was higher.
2 Drug arrests in Kansas rose 8.7 percent in 1993, raising the rate to an estimated 328 per 100,000 population. Comparable national data are not available at this time.
This section draws from Rasmussen and Benson (1994, chapter 3).
There is a large academic literature that addresses the issue of a drug–crime causal connection. This literature does not suggest the simple connection between high rates of drug use and criminal activity that many policy makers perceive. See Wilson and Herrnstein (1985, chapter 14); Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990); Chaiken and Chaiken (1990); and Rasmussen and Benson (1994, chapter 3) for overviews on the literature.
See Rasmussen and Benson (1994, 58–65) for details regarding studies of recidivism and of arrest histories of Florida drug criminals that strongly support the general implications of this national study.
The suggestion that an addict’s demand may not be as fixed as is generally believed is reinforced by the fact that there are obvious substitutes for drug consumption. For the most severely addicted persons, treatment programs and drugs that block withdrawal are available and are used when heroin prices rise (Gould et al. 1974; DuPont and Greene 1972; Levine, Stoloff, and Spruill 1976; Moore 1977; Silberman 1978; and White and Luksetich 1983). In addition, research suggests that most drug users stop drug consumption eventually, whether they use a treatment program or not to facilitate the change in behavior (Vaillant 1969; Silberman 1978; Baridon 1976; and
Gould 1990:34). The suggestion is further reinforced by the fact that drug consumers
respond to the incentives created by law enforcement, as explained below.
There is a large literature on the economic analysis of crime that attempts to identify variables that affect the costs and returns to criminal activity in order to predict the incidence of crime—the literature stems from a pathbreaking article by Becker (1968). The underlying rationale for this approach is that criminals respond consistently to incentives. In the economist’s view, people are less likely to commit a crime when society raises the expected “price” of committing it. The probability of being caught, the likelihood of conviction, and the severity of sentencing are components of price that can be directly influenced by public policy.
After reviewing a great number of studies, using different methods and varied data, Rasmussen and Benson (1994:41–43) concluded, as had early surveys of empirical literature by Elliot (1977) and Silver (1974), the following: (1) Relatively poor legal income opportunities appear to result in more crime. (This appears to hold for drug dealers as well. Myers 1992 used a sample of California, Michigan, and Texas jail and prison inmates who were self-admitted drug dealers and found that the dominant factor contributing to entry into drug selling, particularly among black males, was unattractive market opportunities. Furthermore, racial differences in returns to legitimate employment explained most of the gap between blacks’ and whites’ drug-dealing activities.) (2) Potential criminals are apparently deterred by higher probabilities of punishment. (As noted below, Kim, et al. 1993 support this conclusion for drug criminals as well.) (3) The severity of punishment also may deter crime, but the evidence for this effect is not as convincing as that for higher probabilities of punishment or for the impact of such factors as unemployment.
Gill and Michaels (1990) and Kaestner (1991) use the National Longitudinal Survey of the Work Experience of Youth in their analyses of the relationship between wages and drug consumption.
See Innes (1988). Among those inmates who had used drugs at all in the month prior to the offense, 35 percent had income from illegal sources, while 27.9 percent of those using drugs “regularly in the past” reported illegal income.
While some drug addicts clearly appear to be involved in illegal activity, property crime does not seem to account for most of the illegal income generated by these addicts. They probably raise almost as much money through such crimes as prostitution, pimping, and drug sales as they do from property crimes (Kaplan 1983:54; Reuter, MacCoun, and Murphy 1990). Moore (1977) estimated that heroin addicts obtained about 45 percent of their funds for purchasing heroin from working within the drug distribution system, with more than a third of the remaining funds coming from legitimate income or victimless crimes. Similarly, Gould et al. (1974) reported that profit margins for drug sales exceeded 100 percent, and suggested that half or more of the money spent on heroin at the time could have been generated through the sale of that drug. In one study (Waldorf 1973:50), one-third of the addicts in the sample supported their habits exclusively by selling drugs, and 48 percent partially supported themselves in this fashion. In this instance over 80 percent of the addicts were involved in the drug trade. Among another sample of addicts (Baridon 1976:45), more than 60 percent sold drugs and most also worked at legitimate jobs. So the implication is that the impact of drugs on the level of any particular crime, e.g., burglary, robbery, drug sales is not theoretically predictable.