Cocaine a cause for criminality

Cocaine a cause for criminality



Pharmacologically speaking, cocaine manipulates the area in the brain (short-term and eventually, long-term) in such a way to alter the brains’ chemistry by altering the dopamine reuptake inhibitor. It is both a stimulant and an appetite suppressant. Cocaine is addictive because it alters the mesolimbic reward pathway within the brain. Because cocaine is illegal, it is highly sought after, even more so when its properties are manufactured into Crack.


Recent research has shown that little effect has been directed on relations of cocaine use and crime. Such research is theoretical in that it predicts the extent to which criminality is increased by multiple addictions. This will allow for effective strategies for intervention and prevention to reduce offenders’ cocaine use and hence criminality. Any alteration in the functioning of the brain makes one vulnerable and hence compromised to be involved in any criminal related activities.


Data on this study has been obtained through a Survey Research design has been used to establish how cocaine causes criminality. The research is based on a population, cities in the US and the data collection involved will be from the statistics and tests carried out and published in the Journal of Criminal Justice “an interaction effect model”. The major source of this research is Law offenders’ who consist of arrestees and inmates in the jails and prisons.


The findings of cocaine use among the crime offenders interviewed in the months were very high. There was also a significant increase in incidents of robbery where weapons were involved.


The increased use of cocaine among crime offenders led to increases in crime. Other US cities also experienced minimal crimes due to cocaine use in contrast to the experience of other cities that have experienced high rates of cocaine use and crime. The violent crimes committed consisted of most crimes such as robbery, murder and narcotics.

Recent cocaine users constituted the majority of inmates in jails and prisons in major US cities. National surveys of jail and prison populations, smaller self-report studies, and urine testing results indicated that a huge number of offenders were users of drugs and that cocaine use is increasing the most rapidly. More than three-quarters of the nation’s inmates and almost all inmates in New York City reported cocaine use.

This is a pre-determined sampling method whereby the authorities examined the inmates and ex-convicts who openly said that their being involved in criminal activities was as a result of using cocaine which enabled them do very unnatural things to other people just to make ends meet. Most of them are the poor persons who are oppressed in their lives by the bigwigs and hence they are forced to go through the hard way to succeed in life and also meet their basic needs.

This paper’s main objective is to examine cocaine use in major US cities and also examine the extent to which its use and crime were related. The centering method was used to cope with the problem in the analysis. Data collected indicate that cocaine use tends to increase criminality more in an independent than in an interdependent manner. Findings suggest that to reduce the risks of involvement in crime related activities, cocaine use habits needs to be addressed by the necessary stakeholders who include the government and narcotics bodies.


The research was based on sampling and testing of data which was collected on a sample specifically from crime offenders and inmates’ in major cities within the United States. For instance urine samples were collected from prisoners in each booking places in the cities. In five cities the process is repeated three months after first sample is taken.

Data collection method

The prisoners were notified of the conditions regarding their safety for being interviewed and were given assurance by the interviewers that results of the answers and tests results will remain anonymous and will not affect their cases in courts or their status in the jail cells. Majority of the interviewees agreed to be interviewed and 76% provided urine specimens.

Prisoners were selected for interviews using a list of priorities: those arrested for felonies, unrelated to drugs were given preference followed by those charged with non-drug related misdemeanors, then drug felonies and drug misdemeanors. The prisoners are selected within one day in the different cities. Those charged with drug related crimes are kept at less than 25% of the total sample. This was done to avoid bias that cocaine causes criminality.

According to past testing process for drug use, Voluntary urine tests of more than 2000 men arrested in June-November 1987 which were taken showed positive results for drugs.79% for New York City. Average percentage was 70% according to Eric Wish, visiting fellow at the National Institute of Justice, who supervised the research. This figure was however affected with sampling error and New York is ranked at 79%.


Following are the percentages of men arrested in each city who tested positive for illegal drug use. The figures are affected by sampling error and the ranking of the cities is not precise.

New York79Washington77San Diego75Chicago73New Orleans72Portland, Ore.70Los Angeles69Detroit65Fort Lauderdale65Houston62Indianapolis60Phoenix53

Cocaine use findings in these results were staggering as you can view from the table above. Positive results ranged from 63% in New York to 11% in Indianapolis. This shows how the fraction of persons using cocaine is very high and this indicates that cocaine causes crime. Also among the poor, urban, young men the cocaine penetration is far higher than anyone can guess.


This paper is also subject to limitations from the method used to determine the relationship between cocaine use and criminality The usefulness of the results is limited because the samples are small, only covers cities within the United States and the study does not indicate the percentage of crimes caused by cocaine abuse. Cocaine users are everywhere worldwide.

From other research sources, level of cocaine use is high especially in women and in my research majority of interviewed persons were men. This clearly shows that there is a bias on sex grounds therefore data collected is not reliable to substantiate that cocaine causes crime.

Little evidence is available that criminal justice sanctions (fine, probation, or parole, or length of time served) alone are as effective as drug treatment in reducing the drug use and criminality of cocaine abusers at liberty. The central value of the criminal correctional process lies in the policies that can be imposed to bring hardcore drug abusers into treatment programs.


Alternatives to imprisonment are needed at such a time when drug abuse sends waves of new offenders into overcrowded courts, jails and prisons.Also, the expansion of drug treatment programs for drug testing of prisoners awaiting trial and those released on parole.

Allocation of more resources by the police and local agencies considering cocaine and crack abuse problems as a way of combating burglary, assault and street crime. This study also helps paint the real picture of two diverging drug trends whereby drug abuse is being turned away by majority of Americans but gets worse among the poor.

Discussion and Conclusion

Relationship between cocaine and crime is a matter of debate among social scientists. From my research I have believed that criminals commit more crimes when using drugs and for several reasons to get money, purchase drugs and since drugs can lead to erratic and criminal behavior and since cocaine use also leads into a subculture of illegality.

Use of drugs is greatly declining according to surveys especially among high school seniors. Study of arrested people is a better indicator of drug use patterns among people likely to commit crime, majority of who come from the world’s poor neighborhoods.

According to the Law; Crime Study by the Justice department found out that a half to three quarter of the men arrested for serious crimes in major US cities were found to be testing positive for use of illicit drugs according to a study. This therefore shows that

drugs plays a crucial role in a variety of urban street crimes and this drug tests can be used in various cities to identify the worst crime offenders and offer treatment to the users so as to alter their criminal behavior.

”Overwhelming evidence now exists that links drug use to criminal activity,” Attorney General Meese 3rd said in a statement quoted in New York times. “Drug abuse by crime suspects far exceeds the estimated use of the drug in general population where it appears to be leveling off”. Among crime defendants, it is increasing.

Since the frequent users of cocaine in the general population exhibit a multi-problem lifestyle that may include a pattern of persistent criminal behavior, the most effective way of reducing on criminality resulting from drug use will be drug treatment programmes.This helps abusers reduce the frequency of use, hence substantial reduction in criminality may follow. If a daily user for instance is kept under strict court surveillance while on parole, a substantial drop in his criminality will be nurtured in his lifestyle, hence crimes especially burglary and robbery will be avoided.


This research was part of a larger statistical analysis made possible by:

1)      The Department of Justice

2)      The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research for providing data and assisting with interpretation.

3)      The Department of Corrections

All the parties in these offices facilitated my research and I appreciate their co-operation.


1)      A Criminal Justice System Strategy for Treating Cocaine-Heroine Addicts.

National Institute of Justice-James K.Stewart, Director

2)      Journal of Criminal Justice: Alcohol, cocaine and criminality-An interaction effect model

Journal of Criminal Justice-Volume 26, Issue 3, 6 May 1998, Pages 237-249

doi:10.1016/S0047-2352(97)00082-2Copyright © 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved

3)      Public Medical Central-Journal List

BMC Public Health, 2005; 5: 40. Published online 2005 April 19.

doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-5-40

Copyright © 2005 Degenhardt et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

4)      The Law; Crime Study Finds Recent Drug Use in Most Arrested-New York Times

New York Times-By PETER KERR, Published: January 22, 1988