Article

Drugs and Crime

Richard Wright and Scott Jacques

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online December 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0061
Drugs and Crime

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The relationship between drugs and crime has a long history and is a mainstay of fiction, widely documented in media reports, and the subject of substantial scientific investigation. Drugs are not always illegal, and their sale and use does not always lead to crime. Nevertheless, drugs and crime are related to each other in at least three ways. First, the immediate effect of drugs on the mind and body may create mental or physical states that somehow facilitate aggression or theft. Second, drugs are connected to crime when a drug user has a pressing need to consume them but lacks the necessary funds to do so; such situations may lead to predatory crimes, including burglary, robbery, or theft, among others. A third way in which drugs and crime are related is that some psychoactive substances are illegal to use, trade (buy or sell), or grow/manufacture. When drugs are illegal, illicit market participants are unlikely to report being victimized to the police, which means that predators are more likely to prey on them; in turn, there may be retaliation when this happens. In short, drugs can be related to crime if they cause a mental or physical state conducive to lawbreaking, lead to a perceived need that results in the motivation to steal, or result in a decrease in access to formal mediation and a corresponding increase in predatory and retaliatory crimes.

Article.  4220 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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