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Fact Sheet: Drug-Related Crime

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 1994
5 pages
Amy Craddock Ph.D.; James J. Collins Ph.D.; Anita Timrots
Publication Type
This document discusses the various ways that drugs and crimes are related.
Drugs and crime relationships fall into three categories: drug-defined offenses, drug-related offenses and drug-using lifestyle. This fact sheet focuses on the second and third categories, which are major contributors to the U.S. crime problem. Drug users in the general population are more likely than nonusers to commit crimes. Arrestees frequently test positive for recent drug use. Incarcerated offenders were often under the influence of drugs when they committed their offenses. Offenders often commit offenses to support their drug habit. Drug trafficking generates violent crime. The drug/crime relationship is difficult to specify and should be interpreted cautiously because: most crimes result from a variety of factors (personal, situational, cultural, economic); what is meant by “drug-related” varies from study to study; reports by offenders about their drug use may exaggerate or minimize the relevance of drugs; and drug use measures, such as urinalysis that identifies only very recent drug use, are limited. Tables, figure, references
Date Created: December 17, 2009