For many years now scholars have attempted to establish the reasons why people engage in crimes. Many theories have been advanced with some people arguing that people commit crimes out of poverty or in an attempt to satisfy some of their unmet needs which they are not able to meet in a decent way due to the prevailing circumstances. Others have argued that traits of crime commission runs within the blood lineage so that if the ancestors had such traits then they are transferred in the off springs.
Despite advancing many arguments and theories that explain why people engage in crimes many a scholars have been of the opinion that drug abuse play a contributory role in the commission of crimes. This discussion is therefore going to focus on the contribution of drug abuse to the crime commission, the extent of the same and some of the crimes that are committed as a result of drug abuse (Davis, 2003). It is important to note that when we talk of drugs we are referring to those drugs that are illegal and their use is prohibited. It is the abuse of such drugs that is the focus of our discussion.
Abuse of drugs contributes to commission of crimes in a number of ways. The most basic way is by use, distributing, possessing or manufacturing any drug that is considered illegal in any given country. Another drug related crime is the trafficking of drugs which is basically transportation of transfer of drugs from one country to another for sale through as black market that is normally controlled by cartels. According to the United States Justice Bureau of Statistics the number of inmates who were jailed for drug related crimes were more as compared to those who were taken in for other crimes.
Psychologists have always argued that drug abuse and crime are inseparable. By this they mean that people who engage in drug abuse are more likely to engage in crimes, the drugs being the motivator. It is therefore a fact that cannot be disputed that drug use and abuse precipitates commission of crimes (Chatterjee, 2004). The term drug-related crime has been a controversial one as there is no specific definition of the crimes that fall under this category. Scholars have attempted to come up with classifications of definition of drug related crimes to help eliminate the controversy that surrounds the definition of the same.
The first classification is that which is victim related and is defined to be any crime that is committed as a result either directly or indirectly of use of a drug or a crime that a person commits in a bid to satisfy his or her drug needs. This is most common with the drug addicts who will go to great heights and extremes to satisfy their ‘thirst’ as it is known. Another definition is that crime that involves the distribution and trafficking of drugs. The second classification of drug related crimes are those that are economic related.
These are crimes which are committed a drug user in an attempt to be able to continue his habitual drug abuse. This is mostly common where a person is already addicted to a drug but cannot raise the money and so he results to crime in order to raise the money. These crimes are not usually violent in nature. However depending on the amount of resistance the criminal encounters as he tries to commit the crime they can sometimes be violent. In simpler terms it is the compulsion to obtain the drugs that pushes the offender to commit a crime in this case.
The third classification of drug related crimes are those that are system related. This basically refers to the crimes that are related to the drug trafficking cartels. The crimes that fall under this category are known to be very violent. These crimes are not just confined to those related to drug trafficking, manufacturing and distribution but also act of violence that occur in the black market between drug dealers. Some of these crimes include murder of informants and any other people who may involved in various investigations in the black market.
Other crimes in this category include killings that occur in course of arguments in the drug market in regard to a particular consignment of drugs (Chatterjee, 2004). A research was once carried out in Australia which showed that more that 50% of those who used or abused drugs committed crimes at a particular point in their lives. (Goldstein, 2002) Despite the numerous researches that have been conducted which have proven that actually drug use does contribute to crime commissions there still exists a section of people who believe that drug use does not in any way contribute to commission of crimes.
The argument of those who oppose the relationship between drug and crime is that there are some offences that are directly linked to drug abuse there is no proof that drug is actually the precursor or the cause of the crime. According to the proponents of this argument there is sufficient proof that many male drug users are likely to have engaged in criminal activities way before they got into drug abuse. In their argument therefore drug may be said to be a catalyst in this case perhaps making a user to be hyped up but definitely not the main cause of the commission of the crime.
They also argued that majority of the youth according to their survey were found to have committed crime at the same time when they started to take drugs and thus drugs could not have provoked the crime. It has also argued been argued that commission of crimes and even abuse of drugs is brought about by circumstances and experiences that a person has gone through especially during their childhood (Davis, 2003). Some of these experiences include being abused physically, mentally or sexually.
Lack of the parent figures while growing up could well be a factor that may easily drive one to engage in commission of crimes, drug abuse or both. They therefore argue that concluding that drugs have a direct effect on commission of crimes is not only misplaced and misleading but also invalid and one that does not hold water. So then having discussed what crime related drugs are and perhaps it would be of great importance to find out what governments of various countries doing to combat this vice.
Governments of various states have come up with various laws many of which are very strict against drugs and drug related crimes (Chatterjee, 2004). The main objective of these laws is to put under control drug related crimes, consumption of illicit drugs and punish severely those violating the laws. As a method of ensuring clarity on what drugs are considered illicit and those that are considered that are given a clean bill of health governments usually classify the drugs in schedules.
There is therefore the schedule of the harmful and illicit drugs and the schedule of the drugs that good for consumption. In the United States it is the discretion of the Attorney General to delete some drugs from a particular schedule or add. The punishment that an offender suffers is heavily dependent on the amount of drugs that was in his or her possession at the time of apprehension, the reason why the drug was in his or her possession and the schedule of classification under which that particular drug falls.
Having analyzed all the arguments and theories that have been advanced over the years I am of the opinion that indeed drugs and crime do have some kind of relationship. From research conducted people who take drugs are more likely to engage in crimes than those who do not take any kind of drug. As controversial as the statement may appear with some still not agreeing it is actually a proven fact that drug to contribute to the commission of crime. However it still not clears the amount of drugs that can actually drive one to commit crimes. It is perhaps this uncertainty that make some to refute the validity of the prior claim.
However even with these uncertainties we cannot refute that drugs have indeed contributed to the high rate if crime that characterize the world today. A lot needs to be done perhaps in controlling the drug related crimes. Reference: Chatterjee, S. (2004). Drug Abuse and Drug-related Crimes, London: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Davis, R. (2003). Reporting on Drug Related Crimes, London: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. Goldstein, P. (2002). Drug Related Crime. New York: Analysis Narcotic & Drug Research Inc. Michael, D. (2001). Practical Drug Enforcement, London: C. R. C Press.