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The Relationship Between Drugs and Addiction to Crime


There exists much research exploration into the relations between crack cocaine and heroin and the commitment of felony. Nonetheless, there has not been much research into the links between crack, heroin and cocaine and the commitment of avenue law-breakings. In this essay, evidence is drawn on the investigative substantiation to study the nature of these relations and found that heroin and crack cocaine abuse is not the unswerving reason of paltry offense such as shoplifting. This is from the reason that the beginning of involvement in petty crimes such as shoplifting tends to come first before initiation into drug use. On the other hand, it is also found out that usual use of heroin and crack cocaine ultimately leads to and is in fact linked to street stealing and snatch thievery. This latter verdict was arrived at by illustrating how and why avenue law-breakings were one-off deeds of extreme anxiety.

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During deliberations concerning the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 for instance, participants of the forum articulated profound unease about augmented crime connected to crack cocaine and heroin. This discussion also provides a synopsis of the present-day understanding of the correlation between these substances and crime. Sources analyzed here include experiential analyses, both in print and unprinted, and open witness information obtained by the sentencing commission. Analyses of the societal situation surrounding the distribution of these substances, how violent behavior linked with the drugs compares in the past to violent behavior associated with other substance eras and how offences connected with these substances compares to that linked with other drugs were also carried out.

Social research Methods


The research work consisted of two components. The first were statistics obtained from the Greater Manchester Police, commonly referred to as GMP, The Greater Manchester Street Crime Steering Group, youth offending teams and drug action teams. This made it possible for forty four respondents to be interviewed and definitely these are representative of offenders in the streets of the larger Manchester. Statistical information was also sought from the respondents regarding the first time that they got to use the drugs and the first time they committed offences. They were provided with an interview guide to guide them answer questions appropriately and obtain the required information (Allen, 2006).

Analysis of Data

All the questions and responses were recorded, transliterated and afterwards coded. The coding involved areas such as the drug type and the kind of crime the offenders committed (Allen, 2006). The questionnaire involved taking basic information on how the victims got involved in crime and an explanation of the subsequent stories that explained their drug use. The following conclusions were made from the data analysis:

Systemic Crime

Systemic crime emerges from the arrangement of drug circulation. It includes conflicts over region between competitor drug traders, attacks and executions committed within involved groups. There are also robberies of substance traders and the normally vicious reprisal by the traders or their chiefs, execution of spies, disagreements over drugs and drug equipment, penalty for trading in contaminated or fake substances, castigation for being unable to forfeit one’s credit and burglary hostility connected to the societal ecosystem of those specific areas (Arrigo and Williams, 2006).

The coding exercise established that respondents were not out to find a justification for their involvement in drug use. The availability of these substances or their exposure to these drugs led systemically or automatically to their attachment to abuse and crime. Taking part in offensive behavior was thus referred to a rite of passage rather than a result of peer pressure by the interviewees (Arrigo and Williams, 2006).

Critical Moments and Routes into Heroin and Crack Cocaine

The main focus in this area is the users of drugs and the reason as to why these people get into this. A large number of the interviewees said that at first they hated these substances before they got into the fray.

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Physical or Sexual Abuse as a Critical Moment

It was established from the interviewees’ responses that sexual abuse was a critical moment that led current drug addicts into the vice. From the coding it was established that there exists a very strong relation between sexual abuse and hard drugs. Most of the sexual abuse victims got into substance abuse in order to run away from the reality that they had been molested in one way or another. This led to their addiction to these substances (Allen, 2006).

The data analysis unearthed an empirical link between sexual abuse and the use of hard drugs such as cocaine. Most of the respondents who used drugs in this way were trying to phase out the feeling of being assaulted or molested. Evidence is given of a respondent named Joanne who admitted that from being sexually abused, she felt devalued and couldn’t deal with her emotions. This therefore necessitated the use of cocaine to numb her feelings. From the analysis, it is evident that most sexual abuse victims got into drugs to block out the feeling of being “deflowered”.

However, the researcher does not make reference to the age of the respondents as a determinant to the quality of the analysis. One of the respondents cited as a victim to sexual abuse, gives an account of an incident when she was 12. It turns out that at the time of the interview, she had only discovered that she was abused (from a discussion with a friend) and no account of her age is given at the time of the research. This therefore leaves the research open to interpretation, not mentioning the fact that if she was older; say 5 years or more (from the time of abuse), she could have started using drugs not primarily from the sexual assault but other factors as well. These finding are therefore ambiguous.

Death and Bereavement as Critical Moments

The literature here avoids making an exact declaration that death and bereavement as a way into drug abuse. However, after the interviews followed by transcription and coding, it was clear that quite a number of the correspondents got into substance abuse as an escape from the reality that they had lost their loved ones (Allen, 2006).

The analysis made about bereavement was done on an ethical ground though the extent of analysis is vague because the researcher generalizes death with other occurrences that may have led to the drug abuse. Stano, one of the respondents is said to have bought a friend a bag of cocaine as they chatted about the death of his father. This account already shows that the respondent was already exposed to the drug (heroine) before he was bereaved.

Upon further analysis, the respondent is said to have been angry about the girlfriend’s abortion almost at the same time he started using heroin. This exposes the fact that the respondent could have been under other relationship strains with the girlfriend, probably of communication or trust breakdown which later led to his use of heroine. The analysis of bereavement should therefore have been done on pure account of his father’s death and not on the girlfriend’s secret abortion. Moreover, the researcher indicates that his first instance of drug use was as a result of buying a friend a bag of cocaine. Peer influence may have played a role here. The analysis should have been more specific to bereavement otherwise its ambiguous; let alone the fact that no proof is given on the respondents truthfulness.

Contribution of Heroin and Crack Cocaine towards Street Crime

Most substance abusers began this habit at critical moments in their lives. Thus, this was not the direct cause of their involvement in unlawful acts. In fact, at the initial stages, they were able to control their drug intake and thus their urge was not that high as for individuals who are fully addicted (Dostoyevsky, 2006). Substantial study shows that heroine abusers have the ability to control their narcotics and thus keep away from criminological activities. This is all possible if the drug users are able to restrain their intake to the amounts that they can afford. Consequently, cases of burglary, muggings and robbery with violence are limited since abusers are able to sustain themselves.

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The reason for initial blanket attribution of substance abuse by previous statistics may have therefore acquired a political twist because this analysis shows a different scenario. It can therefore be said that government statistics and the society in general fail to show detailed analysis of the use of hard drugs like cocaine and heroine because of its illegality. The blatant association of drug use to crime is therefore made to emphasize or enforce the fight against drug use by the society coupled by a general acceptance of the society that drug use leads to crime. This is probably made to justify government’s fight against drug use and for society to back it up.

Upon further analysis, a large number of the substance abusers lived perfectly normal lives before getting into drugs. This contributes to their ability to practice restrain in matters consumption and thus are able to live within their incomes. In fact, one respondent said that he got to use these drugs after getting his monthly pay and once he could not afford the drugs he had to wait till the next pay-day (Dostoyevsky, 2006).

Criminology is not reliant upon the values of crime in any straight way since the intangible connection between the two ideas is not that real. This reality is not only peculiar to criminology. For instance, Mathematics does not rely on results in the viewpoint of mathematics and this is a reality which many mathematicians are vocal about. Nonetheless, there are times of cracks in the past of mathematics when long-held assumptions at the core of mathematical exercise were challenged by contentious outcomes like the Zermelo alternative truism and Gödel’s unfinished theorems. Throughout these periods mathematicians got seriously involved in questions of thinking so that to better describe their own practices and determine apparent discrepancies that threatened their work (Agozino, 2003).

Another research carried out in the year 2001 reveals that as much as the pulling out symptoms is bearable whenever an abuser decides to reduce their intake, then he or she can extend his/her time in between drug intake. This forms a major step toward quitting the use of these substances and consequent reduction of criminological activities. However, this analysis is vulnerable to deception from the respondents.

When ‘Drug Needs’ Cause Street Crime

Many of the respondents had been in control at one time during their drug abuse period but again found them so deep into the habit after some time. However, the deep involvement in heroin and crack cocaine was not the push factor into involvement in crime activities by the respondents. Surprisingly, most of them resorted to beg for cash to obtain their daily dosages of these drugs (Allen, 2006).

As much as heroin and crack cocaine addiction is associated with criminological activities, most of the interviewees said that they could only get involved in certain crimes to satisfy their dosage needs. They got into acquisitive offences like shoplifting and fraud to a lesser extent.

Another surprising revelation by these respondents is the fact that they at all times were unwilling to get involved in person-related acquisitive crimes such as muggings and snatch thievery (Allen, 2006). The reason for this is that a majority of these individuals were themselves victims of abuse in the past. They thus have an idea of how it feels to be hurt by another person. They do not want to inflict such hurt to innocent people. This is the reason as to why statistics show that most of the apprehended shoplifters are usually substance users.

Nevertheless, this analysis may be incorrect because some respondents may have wanted to seem “good” in the eyes of the researcher. However, the analysis is backed up by previous studies done in Amsterdam involving 150 opiate users that depict the same findings. The findings also conform to the results findings done on NEW ADAMS program that showed that drug users are likely to be more associated with acquired crimes of a non personal nature like shop-lifting. The study further showed that about 85% of shop lifters were associated with the abuse of hard drugs such as cocaine or heroine. Only a slight majority were identified to commit crimes and robbery (about 6%).

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Street Crime when Busy Making Plans

Most heroin and crack users get themselves into crimes that they regard as ‘acceptable’ or as aforementioned. This is mainly shoplifting because these people are out to avoid street crime. They can only get into street crime if and only if shoplifting fails. They thus can be said to be having both plans A and B. Most of them termed their involvement in street crime as a particularly low point in their day(s). One female respondent confessed how she opted to get into commercial sex work in order to make cash to spend on her addiction rather than engaging in street crime. She was forced into this after feeling really guilty after she got engaged in street crime (Dostoyevsky, 2006).

The extent to which the researcher has shown the relation between street crime and drug abuse is hereby factual because most of the respondents give account of personal experiences, difficult to fabricate. The account given of the commercial sex worker describes an event unique to an individual engaged in the practice. In this analysis, it is hard to fabricate or deceive the researcher in such a case. Other respondents also give the same account thereby enforcing the analysis.


Even though much research has been carried out concerning the relation between drugs such as heroine and crime in general, much is lacking in the relation between these drugs and street crime. This essay tended to bring out some of this information. It has been satisfactorily shown that crimes such as shoplifting are not necessarily a consequence of abuse of these substances. Again, the government’s allegation that crime is a direct result of drug abuse needs to be revisited since there are other logistics involved. The correspondence of unlawful acts and drugs is not all proof that these substances lead to criminological activities. As much as these two tend to go hand-in–hand, criminology may come before one gets immersed in drug abuse. This therefore means that the government’s move toward dealing with crime needs to be relooked at if positive results are to be achieved. There needs to be a better way of dealing with critical moments such treating sexual abuse victims or those who have been bereaved.


  1. Agozino, B. 2003, Counter-Colonial Criminology: A Critique of Imperialist Reason, Pluto Press, London.
  2. Allen, C. 2005, The links between heroin, crack cocaine and crime. British Journal of Criminology, 45 (1), 355-372.
  3. Arrigo, B. & Williams, C. 2006, Philosophy, Crime, and Criminology, University of Illinois Press, Urbana.
  4. Dostoyevsky, F. 2006, Crime and Punishment, Signet Classics, New York.

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