Is there an association between drug use and the crime rate? Many people advise against the use of drugs and refer to drug users as “criminals”. While using illegal drugs is, of course, illegal, drug users should not be treated as criminals. Many drug users fall into drug addiction by mistake by way of prescription or necessity.
Others use it as a coping mechanism and don’t realize when they’re in too deep. Instead of jail time or prison, drug addicts, such as those who use cocaine, should be sent to rehabilitation. But what about actual crimes? Does the use of drugs increase the likelihood of committing a crime? What about cocaine specifically? To learn more about how cocaine and crime are linked, keep reading.
Is There a Relationship Between Crime and Drug Use?
The war on drugs often results in people being arrested and put into jail or even prison for drug use alone. Drug use, as well as possession and selling of drugs, are the most common things drug addicts are arrested or apprehended for. However, because drug use can cause people to make poor decisions or not think things through, drug addicts might become involved in situations that they otherwise wouldn’t. Once they’re in deep, it can feel difficult to get out. If you’re working with a drug dealer or are a part of a pack of people that do drugs, it can be easy to fall in line and follow what other people are doing.
Because of this, drug addicts may wind up in situations that they don’t expect. Of course, there are some drug addicts who also happen to be criminals, but for the most part, drug addiction doesn’t cause these criminal tendencies but instead causes poor decision-making and difficulty saying no.
Substance Abuse and Crime Rate Statistics
In 2004, 17% of state prisoners and 18% of federal inmates stated that they committed the crime that put them in prison to obtain money for drugs. As for more serious crimes, like homicide, only 3.9% of homicides in 2007 were drug-related. With this information, we can infer that drug addicts are more likely to commit crimes as a way to get more money for drugs instead of violent crimes.
However, drugs like alcohol and cocaine may be more likely to cause violence. Alcohol is often known for increasing the risk of domestic violence, while cocaine may be more likely to play a part in the violence that occurs alongside money crimes, like robbery. For example, someone on cocaine may be more likely to get violent during a robbery than someone who isn’t on drugs.
Risk Factors for Developing a Cocaine Addiction
Almost anyone has the potential for developing an addiction. Addiction isn’t selective, and anyone can fall victim to addictive behaviors. For example, many people try drugs when they’re younger, leading to addiction, while others might start using drugs because of a prescription. Not everyone’s drug addiction story is the same. However, there are a few things that put people at a higher risk for developing cocaine or other drug addiction.
Using at a Young Age
If you start using drugs at a younger age, you’re more likely to develop an addiction later in life. Not only that, but younger people also have higher rates of aggression, so teenagers with cocaine addiction might be even more likely to be involved in violent crimes than older adults.
Addiction in the Family
Addiction can run in the family, so if you’re genetically predisposed for any type of addiction, it’ll be easier for you to develop one in your life. Many children of addicts often work harder to avoid addiction. As a child of an addict, it’s important to be upfront and honest with yourself about your actions in order to avoid developing an addiction. If you believe you might start abusing drugs, it’s time to talk to a counselor or therapist about your options moving forward. They can help you learn healthy coping skills to avoid drug use and addiction.
Mental Illness and Trauma
Those with untreated mental illness may be more likely to turn to drugs, as they haven’t learned or developed any healthy coping mechanisms. Because they don’t know how to process their emotions properly, it’s easier to use drugs like cocaine or alcohol to numb what they’re feeling. The same is true for those who have gone through traumatic events or experiences. If they haven’t learned how to cope with their trauma, they might use drugs as a way to avoid thinking about it or dealing with it, especially when they’re triggered.
Is Jail the Right Option for Drug Users?
Oftentimes, drug users end up in jail or prison after they’re caught committing one crime or another. Frequently, the only crime they’ve committed is drug use, possession, or distribution. However, while an arrest might seem like the right move for most crimes, treating drug users like criminals doesn’t help them become better people. Oftentimes, it makes it easier for them to turn right back to drugs upon their release.
Instead of sending drug users to jail, they should be sent to rehabilitation and treatment centers where they can learn how to recover from their addiction and deal with whatever mental health issues or PTSD may have caused it, if applicable. This way, addicts can recover in a safe and productive environment and return to the world changed for the better.
Cocaine Addicts Should Seek Help ASAP
While drugs may affect the crime rate, it’s often because addicts are looking for ways to get more money and thus, more drugs. What they need instead is treatment. Asheville Recovery Center offers a variety of different treatment programs, including inpatient, outpatient, and detoxification to help cocaine addicts and other types of addicts get and stay sober. To learn more about our programs and how we can help you or a loved one, give us a call today. We’re eager to answer any questions you may have.