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NCJ Number: 77580 Find in a Library
Title: Unravelling the Drugs - Crime Connection
Journal: Australian Crime Prevention Council Forum  Volume:4  Issue:1  Dated:(1981)  Pages:81,83-85,87,89-91
Author(s): G Wardlaw
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This article analyzes the extent and nature of drug-related crimes in order to enlighten both the Australian public and officials about the degree and significance of the relationship between drug use and crime.
Abstract: Discussion in this paper examines income-generating crimes committed against person or property in order to support expensive drug habits of heroin, methadone, or cocaine use. Reviewed are studies on the temporal relationship between drug use and crime, the nature of crimes committed to support a drug habit, and the economic relationship between narcotic abuse and property crime. Analysis of the relevant knowledge concerning these topics indicates that the rationales for some of Australia's current drug enforcement policies are based on gross oversimplification of the direct causal links between drug use and crime. First, narcotics users vary in their habit sizes and frequencies. If addict stereotypes constitute a minority of users, aggregate estimates of use and analyses based therein may be inappropriate. Between 30 and 50 percent of the income needed to support large habits is generated within the drug distribution network itself; other sources of financial support are family, welfare, employment, gambling, and prostitution; property crime follows these. Furthermore, a substantial percentage of persons arrested for narcotic offenses have criminal histories predating their first drug-related arrest; the offense records of narcotics users are more serious than those of cannabis users. Finally, evidence does not show reliably that drug users commit violent crimes as a direct result of the pharmacological action of the drugs consumed. These conclusions supported by empirical studies illustrate the complexity of social, economic, and physiological phenomena that constitute the drug problem, which cannot be solved by law enforcement measures alone. Tabular data are provided.
Index Term(s): Australia; Drug abuse; Drug effects; Drug offenders; Drug regulation; Drug Related Crime; Theft offenses
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