This type of statement is at best misleading, and at worst grossly incorrect. A more qualified approach to the impact of substance abuse on criminal behaviours is advocated in this paper.
In addition to these limitations regarding the impact of substance abuse on criminal behaviour, there is also a startling body of data which suggests that the risk factors for predicting both substance abuse and criminal behaviours are in many instances the same. This suggests that the true causes of criminal behaviour may lie deeper than the convenient substance abuse theories. The root causes, in short, may be these particular risk factors rather than substance abuse. That is not to say that substance abuse does not exacerbate the severity of these risk factors, they would appear to do so, but that substance abuse is hardly a sole casual explanation for criminal behaviours.
This essay will first provide a short definition of substance abuse; this is necessary for two reasons. First, an analysis of the risk factors predicting criminal behaviours also predict substance abuse. The comparison is quite illuminating. Second, criminal behaviours are often dependent on the particular type of substance abuse.
Substance abuse is an umbrella designation. ...
sation, through its Expert Committee on Mental Health, in 1966, discovered a common set of risk factors contributing to alcoholism and drug dependency. As a result of these findings, they presented and suggested a "combined approach" to the definition of substance abuse,
Problems of dependence on other drugs should be considered together, because of similarities of causation, interchangeability of agent in respect to maintenance of dependence and hence similarities in measures required for prevention and treatment ( ).
Thereafter, they proposed that national public health authorities should analyse and treat all of the various types of dependency as related problems and under the administration of the same organisational structure. Glatt (1974) states that as
drug users "commonly misuse several types of drug at the same time it is necessary, in terms of clinical diagnosis and treatment, to identify multiple drug addiction, ensuring the implementation effective rehabilitation programmes." The significance, for purposes of better understanding criminal behaviours, is that specific causal relationships can be studied.
The issue of addiction is of particular importance to the analysis of criminal behaviours. This is because there is strong evidence for the proposition that addicts engage more often in criminal behaviours than non-addicts. The recreational user is less prone to commit criminal acts. That said, it is important to understand that research into the relationships that exist between substance abuse and criminal behaviours should not be limited to the hard drugs. West and Grunberg, (1991), have pointed out that the underlying behavioural and pharmacological indicators which can be used to predict addiction to tobacco are quite similar to those that