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How Much Crime is Drug-Related? History, Limitations, and Potential Improvements of Estimation Methods

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2014
44 pages
This paper proposes an expanded model for defining drug-related crimes, i.e., drug attribution factors (DAFs), beyond that proposed by Goldstein.
Goldstein's model of drug-related crime identifies three categories of DAFs: "economic-compulsive" (crimes committed to obtain money for buying drugs); "psychopharmacological" crime (crimes committed due to the effect of drugs, such as assaults and homicides); and "systemic" crime (crimes committed by individuals and organizations in the course of operating a drug-trafficking enterprise). In addition to these three categories of DAFs, this paper proposes four additional types of DAFs indirectly related to drug supply and demand. Although these drug-related harmful effects may not involve specific law violations, they constitute part of the cost of drug supply and consumption. One of the four additional drug-related costs to society is the diminishment of positive contributions to society the drug-user might have provided had he/she not become dependent on drugs. A second indirect effect pertains to the adverse impacts the drug-user has on his/her children and other family members because of drug dependence. A third indirect effect is the impact of drug market activities on the neighborhood environment and constructive influence. The fourth indirect cost of drug use is the general diminishment of the informal ability of a society to mold the moral development of its members and thus deter crime. 3 figures and 53 references

Date Published: April 1, 2014