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Connection Between Drug Use and Urban Crime

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1990
16 pages
This speech addresses the issues of drug-related crimes and discusses the data reported on recreational and hard-core drug use.
Although the drug problem in the 1960's and 1970's was often taken lightly by professionals and government officials, today it is apparent that drugs, particularly cocaine, have long-term deleterious effects on society including health effects, organized and international cartels, street crime, and the destruction of families. According to National Institute of Justice (NIJ) studies, drug use does not directly cause crime, but it does accelerate existing criminal tendencies. A major tool in the investigation of the drug-crime relationship has been urine testing of arrestees. The Drug Use Forecasting program (DUF) has revealed that drug use among arrestees is much higher than previously believed and has identified the drugs most commonly used in each major city in the U.S. The data from DUF also suggest that casual users questioned in nationwide surveys often underreport their drug use. A combination of criminal justice and treatment for drug-using offenders could be effective in ensuring that all those under the supervision of the criminal justice system remain drug-free. Another recommendation is to target intensive drug prevention and education programs at schoolchildren in the 9th grade around age 14.

Date Published: January 1, 1990