Drug abuse and crime have gone hand in hand for decades—even centuries. The biochemical personality of an addict can become so far-removed from reality that, desperate for another fix, he or she will do anything to obtain drugs. Trends today are showing more addicts turning to crime to fuel drug habits, further indicating a need for the criminal justice system to quickly revamp the system.
The use of jails and prisons as “rehab” for drug offenders is antiquated; the epidemic of abuse is far worse than ever, calling for a strategic shift in our approach to the matter.
Illinois Theft Directly Related To Heroin Abuse
A recent story from Madison Country, Illinois, told of a 35-year-old male who broke into several homes (while temporarily vacant) and targeted high-value merchandise: jewelry, guns, electronics and anything else that could be resold. James Stufflebeam, the thief, accumulated over $7,000 in stolen goods that he intended to use for drugs he felt were desperately needed.
Heroin and prescription drug epidemic growth is making it more and more common for these kinds of organized multi-theft operations to take place. In the above-mentioned Illinois country, law enforcement reported a 30% increase in residential Breaking and Entering cases, all of which were heroin-related.
Substance Abuse And Criminality
During 2001 marked the year when Portugal decided to decriminalize all drugs nationwide—shockingly, the country now reports a decrease in drug addicts. Many experts are not convinced this theory would work entirely in the United States, yet more addicts turning to crime to fuel drug habits forces a deeper look into the strong link between substance abuse and criminality.
A strong majority of males arrested in America test positive for drugs at the time of their arrest. Drugs are responsible for moral degradation in a large number of ways—promiscuity, vandalism, violence and general carelessness are all attitudes and behaviors seen in drug abusers; these same behaviors are seen in criminal offenders.
While under the influence of drugs or alcohol, life becomes increasingly potentially dangerous. Drunk driving, theft and violence all are not the smartest of activities, yet they are things one might expect to see from a substance abuser who has lost his or her sense of judgment and moral compass.
For decades, prisons and jails have been expected to produce the results of drug rehab, despite the fact that doing time could hardly be considered treatment.
Is It Possible To Prevent Drug Abuse
Fruitful studies have shown that children born in underprivileged homes or with violent, drug-abusing or sexually abusive parents are much more likely to become tangled up in a substance abuse of their own.
Through diligent and loving parenting, and comprehensive education on drugs and alcohol, it is possible to break the apparent repetitive cycle in families with drug abuse/criminal histories.
Sometimes, kids need only to know that someone cares enough about them to give them some guidance. Children who are neglected are the most likely to become drug addicts and detained criminals.
In addition to this drug prevention and education needs to be provided to school aged children so they can learn about the dangers of drugs, and the consequences of use. One model through stopaddiction.com has been very successful where drug prevention specialists travel and educate youth from schools, church groups and community organizations about drugs and their dangers.
It is possible to prevent abuse but it takes an effort from schools, communities, parents and within families.
For more information on this topic or to get help for a loved one log onto stopaddiction.com.