The Drugs-Crime Wars: Past, Present and Future Directions in Theory, Policy and Program Interventions

ImpacTeen Research Papers

The Drugs-Crime Wars: Past, Present and Future Directions in Theory, Policy and Program Interventions
McBride DC, VanderWaal CJ, and Terry-McElrath YM.

Research into the relationship between drug use and crime has generated a substantial body of literature. While these efforts have not established a causal link between the two behaviors, they do confirm a high correlation between drug use and many types of criminal behavior in a) the general population, b) populations of drug users, and c) arrested populations. The literature also shows that the drug-crime relationship occurs within the framework of societal policies toward drug use that have ranged from regulated commercial approaches to strict prohibition. There is considerable debate about the strength and continuity of the relationship between drug use and crime. It is theoretical models such as Ecosystems Theory and/or Social Capital. These models may help sort out the nature and complexity of the relationship as well as suggest more appropriate interventions. A review of programmatic approaches that have been used to break the drugs-crime relationship is presented that suggests the most successful approaches include a comprehensive range of services from assessment, implementation of services to meet assessed needs, and aftercare within the framework of graduated sanctions and comprehensive case management. In order to further examine the drugs-crime relationship, it is suggested that future research should use an interdisciplinary approach to evaluate the differential impact of state policies as well as and examine the effectiveness of specific treatment program elements.

Research Paper (PDF – 355KB)

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