National Addiction & HIV Data Archive Program

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Pub. Type:
Book Section
Dynamics of the drug-crime relationship
Book Title:
Criminal Justice 2000
Pub. Year:
This chapter explores changes and continuities in the drug-crime relationship during the past several decades. First, we discuss the relationship in a historical context highlighting changes in U.S. Federal policy. Next, we examine the key methodological issues involved in empirically understanding the drug-crime connection. In this section we identify inconsistencies in definitions and measurement of key variables and discuss the advantages and limitations of alternative sampling frames. We then trace trends in drug use and crime over time using national and city-level datasets. These data demonstrate that trends vary by city and that there is no uniform association between any type of drug use and any type of crime. After this, we present general theoretical models of the drug-crime connection, including that drug use causes crime, that crime leads to drug use, and that both drug use and crime are caused by the same factors. Next, we review the empirical research that supports and refutes these explanatory models. The review indicates that one single model cannot account for the drug-crime relationship. Rather, the drug-using, crime-committing population is heterogeneous, and there are multiple paths that lead to drug use and crime. The chapter concludes with a discussion of policy options and implications for the next century.
United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
Place of Publication:
Washington, DC
151 - 218

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