The Relationship Between Substance Abuse and Crime Essay

Do you know someone who has done drugs? Well of course you do, we all do. Drugs are defined as “a substance that has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body”, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Researchers are focusing their attention on the aspect of drug addiction and drug abuse. Creating an outlet to drug awareness is the government’s ultimate goal in aiding families and individuals who are suffering. Unfortunately, drug abuse and drug addiction are extremely common among today’s society. “Criminality and substance abuse have long been linked.

Criminal acts can range from activities such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, domestic violence, robberies, assaults, prostitution and rape. The manufacturing or distribution of illegal drugs such as methamphetamine or cannabis and the use of such drugs are also serious acts punishable by the law. ” Drug abuse is a disorder that is characterized by a detrimental pattern of utilizing a substance, which leads to major problems in a person’s life. In the United States of America, twenty-five percent of the total number of deaths are attributed to drug abuse.

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Behavioral characteristics of users also vary depending upon drug of choice. “All drugs are not the same and some have greater likelihood to be related to violent crime than others. ” Not all drug users are or become addicted. Drug addiction, however, is a disease that is represented by a disastrous pattern of drug abuse, which leads to major problems involving tolerance or withdrawal from the specific substance being used. Statistics clearly connect crime and substance abuse. The use of alcohol and drugs by young people, in today’s society, poses many risks.

Throughout history, the task of defining the word addiction has become so complex, and has challenged physicians, judges, clergy, addicts, their families, and the rest of the world. The difference between addictions and the formulation of habits are that habits are done by choice, and addictions are uncontrollable. People with addictions do not have control over what they are doing, taking, or using. Addiction can refer to a substance dependence, such as a drug or alcohol addiction, or to a behavioral addiction, such as a gambling or shopping addiction.

So what is it that causes a person to become addicted, you may ask. “Doctors say that there is a link between the repeated use of an addictive substance and how the human brain experiences pleasure – its use has a nice reward, leading to further and more frequent use. ” Drug abuse and drug addiction are not based on causality, however, there are a number of various factors which contribute to a person becoming abusive or addicted to a drug. Drug addicts account for about 527,000 emergency rooms for treatment in one year.

Based on research, many scientists believe that a deficiency of dopamine is the connecting link to what makes a person become addicted. “There is no test that indicates if someone is a drug addict, therefore, health care physicians “diagnose” a drug addiction by gathering information about an individual’s medical, family, and mental health. ” This is where statistical information and surveys come into play and can be extremely useful and helpful. The connection between drugs and domestic violence presents a strong link. Almost eighty percent of domestic violence crimes have a connection to drugs.

Domestic violence may be defined as one or more types of assault; including physical, emotional, sexual, mental, verbal, psychological, relational, and spiritual. Domestic violence may be related to drug addiction in some families. It involves an effort to control another person by force, coercion, or intimidation. Domestic violence is accounted for almost seventy-five percent committed by drug addicts. According to the domestic violence statistics, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women- more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.

The age group that is most affected by drug addiction are young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. “The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control estimates that nearly 5. 3 million domestic violence incidents happen each year among women, ages eighteen years and older, resulting in 2 million injuries and 1,300 deaths annually. ” In combination with drugs and alcohol, individual and relationship risk factors also play a major part in a case of domestic violence. Individual risk factors for domestic violence are: low academic achievement, involvement in aggressive or delinquent behavior as a youth, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse, witnessing or experiencing violence as a child, lack of social networks and social isolation, and unemployment.

Relationship risk factors include marital conflict, marital instability, and male dominance in the family, poor family functioning, emotional dependence and insecurity, belief in strict gender roles, desire for power and control in relationships, and exhibiting anger and hostility toward a partner. “In addition, there are differences between people depending on personality traits, risk factors for violent temperament, risk factors to become addicted to drugs, and risk factors to commit a crime. ” The belief that alcohol and drug use heightens the prospect of domestic violence is because alcohol and drug use reduce inhibitions and control, impair judgment, and also increase aggression. In today’s society, drunk driving is an extremely important issue. It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs and there are many consequences when “deciding” to do so.

Drinking and drugged driving is the number one cause of death, injury, and disability of young people under the age of 21. Laws against drunk driving have been strictly enforced and implemented in order to protect the safety of the community. “The relationship between alcohol and crimes including domestic abuse and violence, underage drinking, robbery, assault and sexual assault is clearly documented. ” Alcohol, a depressant, is one of the most common addictions, which can have devastating effects on a person’s physical and interpersonal health. Alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes today.

Alcoholism is a major social, public health, and economic problem in the United States, and is a totally different term than alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is when you show signs of being addicted to alcohol and yet you continue to drink because you are dependent on alcohol, despite the knowledge of having a problem. Alcohol abuse is when your drinking leads to problems, but you are not dependent on alcohol. Alcohol is a factor in over sixty percent of homicides, seventy-five percent of stabbings, seventy percent of beatings, fifty percent of fights and domestic assaults, thirty-seven percent of rapes nd sexual assaults, fifteen percent of robberies, twenty-seven percent of aggravated assaults, and twenty-five percent of simple assaults. “1. 4 million incidents of alcohol-related violence are committed against strangers. ” “Individuals under the age of twenty-one were the victims in just about thirteen percent of incidents of alcohol-related violence, and the offenders in nearly nine percent. ” Based on the information from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. (NSDUH) in 2010, more males (85. 8 percent) have used alcohol, compared to (79. 8 percent) of females.

Adults in the age groups of 26-34 years old and 35-49 years old have the same number of people who have used alcohol, (90. 6 percent). Children between the ages of 12-17 years old admit to having used alcohol (35. 4 percent). “Alcohol is a key factor in many violent crimes. ” Alcohol is also a key factor in many vehicular accidents, fatalities, and arrests. In 2007, over 1. 4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs which represents less than one percent of 159 million self-reported incidents of alcohol-impaired driving in the United States each year. In 2011, 9. 4 million people (3. percent) of the population aged 12 or older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year. This was a decrease from the previous year of 2010, which recorded 4. 2 percent.

The rate of driving under the influence of illicit drugs in 2011 was the highest among young adults aged 18 to 25,with 11. 6 percent, which was again lower that the rate the previous year of 2010 which recorded about 12. 7 percent. The rate of driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year 2010-2011, decreased among adults aged 26 or older, which decreased from almost three percent in 2010 to 2. percent in 2011. Every day, thirty-six people die, and approximately 700 people are injured, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired drive. Our nation’s prison population has exploded to where one in 100 United States citizens is now confined in jail or prison. Most of the inmates in prison are incarcerated because of alcohol or drugs, eighty percent of offenders abuse drugs or alcohol. Nearly fifty percent of all inmates in jail or prison are clinically addicted to a substance.

It seems that being incarcerated, for the inmates has little effect on their future drug use, because approximately ninety-five percent of inmates return to alcohol or drug use after their release from imprisonment. The connection between alcohol, drugs, driving, and crime is obvious, and in order to avoid fatalities as a result from this is to break the chain that links drug and alcohol addiction to crime. The first step towards the treatment of addiction is to acknowledge that there is a substance dependency problem.

The next step is to get help, whether it be counseling, support groups, psychotherapy, or the admittance into a rehabilitation facility. There are many resources for drug abuse and/or drug addiction treatment, such as the 12-step program, where the primary goals of recovery are abstinence, prevention of relapsing, and rehabilitation. There are many support groups available to people who are dealing with alcoholism as a serious problem in their life. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), is a self-help group that offers emotional support using the “12-step” approach.

Abstinence, completely stopping the use of alcohol, is the most ideal goal of alcohol abuse treatment. The establishment of these various developments have engaged people in drug awareness. Statistical information being made public allows people to view the world as a whole, and for people to also see that they are not alone in their addiction and that there is help. Statistical information is categorically placed according to the research composed. These statistics are used to show the differences in each category based on the findings from each year.

In order to establish an accurate, or almost accurate assessment of these findings, specific questions on surveys are being asked and answered by the public. The government has developed funding which guides people to finding helpful resources and support groups for treatment. In conclusion, there have been many advancements and organizations which have been created in order to promote substantial opportunities to the public. I chose this topic as my paper because I believe very strongly that there is a definite relationship between substance abuse and crime.

The mindset of a person who commit’s a crime has always sparked my interest. It intrigues me to understand the psyche of a person who is addicted and a person who commit’s a crime. It also interests me how crimes and drugs go hand in hand. This research paper taught me many of the advancements in laws and treatments throughout the years of drug and alcohol use. Addiction to alcohol and other drugs has grown to be a major problem in the United States. It has led to a greatly increased crime rate, increased communicable diseases, mental illnesses, and has contributed to an over-taxed social services system.

In 1972 the United States had a total of 196,000 jail and prison cells; by 1991 that number had risen to between 1. 1 and 1. 25 million, a 600 percent increase. Despite the high number of people in jail or prison, the streets are more dangerous now than they ever have been. To me, the most meaningful part of my research was the entire scope of how drug and alcohol use take such a toll on a person, and even the people who are not drug or alcohol users, such as the abuser’s family and friends. Although many individuals try drugs every year, only a fraction of them become addicted. ” Addiction is composed of many environmental as well as genetic factors that determine who will or won’t be vulnerable to drug abuse.

“In addition, many factors contribute to whether or not an individual will commit a criminal act. Variables, such as poverty, social support structure, peer influences, steady employment and family environment contribute to reasons for both drug abuse as well as risk factors for committing crime. Everyone who is surrounded by a person or peoples who use or abuse drugs or alcohol are commonly involved in the unfortunate events that occur in a users life. “Crime and drug use both indicate an individual with lower self control. Those willing to try drugs are more impulsive and may turn to street crime because of addiction. Drug use does not create a criminal offender; however, it may intensify such actions. ” In closing, this research paper has taught me a great deal about the interesting relationship between substance abuse and crime.