Short Essay on the Relationship between Drug-Addicts and Crime !
Besides alcoholism, drug-addiction is also closely interconnected with crime. Compulsion for narcotic makes every drug-addict a law-violator and criminal. Mere possession of narcotic is also an offence punishable under the law and therefore drug-addiction by itself adds to the crime-statistics.
American researches on relationship between drug-addiction and crime have shown that narcotic addicts often commit predatory crimes such as larceny, shop-lifting, stealing, burglary, robbery etc. The drug-addicts generally lead a criminal life. It is often noticed that addicts of narcotic drugs mostly resort to theft to obtain money for procuring drugs.
Most persons become delinquent after they have started use of narcotic drugs. Many violent offenders take narcotic drugs to get stimulation and courage and commit violent acts such as murder, burglary, extortion, rape etc. which they might not otherwise commit when not drugged. Dr. Kolb, however, disagreed with this view and suggested that crimes committed by opiate addicts are generally of a parasitic, predatory and non-violent type.
If drug addicts commit violent crimes it is not because they are addicts, but because so many of them are psychopaths. Dr. Kolb further observed that narcotics like opium, heroin, morphine and cocaine change the violent fighting psychopaths into dull, cowardly non-aggressive idlers. In his view, drug addiction eliminates or at least reduces sex-desire of the addict.
Another question which is too often raised in context of criminal traits of drug addicts is whether criminality in them precedes or follows addiction. That is to say, whether the addicts are already delinquents before they take to addiction or they become so subsequently. Conflicting views have been expressed on this point by Prof. Parcor and Dr. Kolb. An intensive study of 1,036 addicts undertaken by Prof. Parcor in Lexington that seventy-five per cent of them had no history of delinquency prior to addiction.
Anslinger, however, has expressed a contrary view and suggested that drug-addicts are already criminals before they take to addiction. Dr. Kolb also studied a group of 119 persons who became drug-addicts as a result of medical prescription of narcotics for ailments and found that ninety of them were without any prior career of delinquency and crime.
The studies conducted by the researchers of New York and Chicago Universities, however, suggest that delinquency precedes as well as follows addiction. Be that as it may, it is now generally agreed that after addiction, the criminal hardly sheds off his habit of delinquency as he adopts it as a way of life with his advancing age. Thus, most addicts who are adolescent offenders turn into habitual and professional criminals when they grow older in life.
A British study reveals that the problem of criminality has been further aggravated by drug addiction. The British Health Education Council has estimated that consumption of alcohol in Britain increased by 37 per cent and the number of alcoholics has increased by 47 per cent.
Alcohol or drug abuse may result in mental impairment. If a person, through the use of intoxicants or drugs, is rendered insane, the M’ Naghten’s rule, shall apply. That is, defence of insanity will be available to him if he proves that he was under a insane delusion and did not appreciate the nature or quality of his actions or did not know that what he did was wrong. However, this defence will not be available if the use of such substances induces a temporary insanity in persons who are mentally unstable but not normally insane.
The British criminal law recognises two broad categories of drugs for the purpose of defence of insanity, namely, (i) those which are known to have effects which may make the taker more-aggressive and unpredictable; and (ii) those, like valium, which are not normally associated with problematic changes in behaviour. It is in the latter case that a defence of temporary mental impairment may possibly be acceptable.
The U.N. Report on abuse of drugs has concluded that the relationship between drugs arid misery and crime compelled the governments to interfere in their use and sale.
Global statistics indicate that various parts of the world are drastically affected by drug hazard and the problem has reached alarming dimensions particularly in Middle East, South-East Asia, Eastern Europe, Canada, Mexico, U.S.A., Central America and Africa. Heroin which was practically unknown in Africa, is now extensively being used (abused) in Mauritius and Nigeria. Ghana has also become a centre of drug abuse in recent years.
Since Bolivia, Peru and Columbia commonly known as “Cocaine triad” are largest cocaine producers ill the world, they are obviously the largest supplier of this narcotic to other parts of the world. In Brazil also, illicit drug trafficking has lately increased due to its extensive borders with Columbia, Peru and Bolivia. It has now become the largest manufacturer of acetone and ethylether.