There’s a complex relationship between criminal activity and drug use. The Bureau of Justice Statistics has done numerous studies on this and found that one reason for criminal activity is that the individuals involved are trying to fund a drug habit. These are not all necessarily drug-related crimes, but they do relate back to that addiction.
For instance, someone may know where they can buy drugs but lack the funds to do so. Since they are addicted to those drugs and they know they need to get them or they will go through withdrawal, they may resort to illegal activity, such as theft, in order to get the money as quickly as they can. In other cases, they may seek to obtain the drugs in an illegal manner, such as by stealing them from someone else.
In both cases, the key is that the person would not have done any of this if they were not addicted to the drug in question. They didn’t decide they wanted to steal the money or the substances. They didn’t make that conscious choice. It is simply the addiction taking over control of their life and pushing them into things that they would never have chosen on their own.
Why does this matter when considering criminal charges?
The importance of this is that criminal charges are generally designed to either punish those who have committed offenses or ensure that they will not do the same thing in the future.
But if the reason that the person broke the law is simply that they are addicted to drugs, these types of punishments may not accomplish the goals that they are intended to accomplish. The addiction itself has to be overcome first.
The reason for continuing drug use
In a related subject, many people continue to use illegal drugs even after arrest and incarceration simply because they are addicted. There is no deterrent that the justice system can create that is going to convince someone to ignore their own addiction. It is a sickness, not something that can be ignored or overlooked. Without treatment, they are going to continue the same activities, even if they are banned by local and federal laws.
As a result, all who are facing these types of charges need to know about all of the legal options they have. In some cases, drug treatment programs may be beneficial, and the role of addiction needs to be taken into account.