Drugs and crime — a complex relationship. Towards a definition of associated with alcohol use, illicit drug use, and particularly the use of stimulants, interventions targeting dependent drug users. 4. . type of crime, the 'dark figure', based. illicit drug use and also to make up a large share of total crime. However, when measuring criminal activity it is extremely difficult to disentangle crime which is directly . research on the effects of cannabis on the brain does not suggest a link to spans this figure, but the wide range of results prevents any firm conclusion. Forward causation – drug use causes crime either through the need to: (a) fund The underlying causal mechanism(s) is likely to be more complex than these .. Inspection of the graphs of offending rate by age group shows that those with . Relationship between adolescent marijuana use and young adult illicit drug use.
Although a single model cannot explain the entire drug-crime system, the relationship between drugs and crime involves a broad spectrum of social, political, and economic forces, the environment of the individuals abusing substances, and the biological processes driving human behaviour [ 11 ].
Inaddicts were rehabilitated in the Western Cape represented by data collected in the Cape Town area. Inaddicts were rehabilitated across the WC, indicating a increase in admissions [ 12 ]. Annual drug-related arrests increased from 19, cases in to 82, cases in [ 4 ].
The increased prevalence of crimes associated with substance abuse underscores the importance of examining the system of interacting processes and feedback loops that are associated with substance abuse and drug-related crimes. This paper focuses on the occurrences of substance abuse and drug-related crimes in the Western Cape during the time period — This study explores the current state of drug abuse and its relation to drug-related crimes within the Western Cape in South Africa from a systems thinking and systems dynamic perspective.
The focus is on gaining a better understanding of the underlining structure of the system that sustain drug abuse and drug-related crimes within the communities, as well as exploring the relationship between the two, within the system. The aim of this paper is thus to investigate the relationship between substance abuse and drug-related crimes within the Western Cape.
A dynamic system is constructed on the STELLA platform in order to explore and understand the relationships and structures within the substance abuse and drug-related crime system. Systems Thinking, System Dynamics, and STELLA Systems thinking focuses on studying the whole, by employing functional and relational principles [ 15 — 17 ], rather than focusing on the simple elements as preferred in reductionistic mathematical models such as the SIR models.
Interrelatedness and emergence are some of the fundamental ideas that systems thinking is built on [ 18 ], where an emergent property of a system is a product of the system as a whole. Systems thinking allows us to consider the product of the system and not only that of a single component in the system.
Conceptual models constructed from the perspective of systems thinking allow researchers to interpret or explain social phenomena by relating different structures that shape our lives like biological, organizational, political, and governmental systems [ 15 — 171920 ].
Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Systems thinking requires critical thinking of researchers in various fields and holds the possibility of exposing assumptions that are systemically flawed in mental and mathematical models that researchers have often based their work on. Systems thinking and system dynamics bring a new perspective and opportunity for active engagement and trans-disciplinary thinking with those who have stake in the outcome to govern the course of change.
This is done in order to consider connections of different components and plan for the implications of their interaction [ 15 — 17 ].
A common theme within systems is their dynamic nature, whether equilibriums, cycles, or chaotic behaviour occurs. Dynamic change is always present within systems. This phenomenon in systems causes agents to constantly adapt within the system, forming a self-organizing system that is sensitive to preexisting conditions and governed by both the actions and reactions of the system actors [ 31516 ].
Holder [ 14 ] recommended health research to use systems principles and orientation, when approaching health hazards such as substance abuse as a system of structured relationships with diverse methodologies.
Systems research creates the opportunity to critically explore what hinders or accelerates adoption of evidence based strategies and promote their implementation [ 18 ]. System dynamics assist in understanding how these systems are organized and sustained and discover the possible ways in which they can be improved within their democratic and dynamic environments. In summary, dynamic systems consist of a trans-disciplinary integration that aims to reconcile linear and nonlinear, qualitative and quantitative, reductionist, and holistic thinking and methods into union [ 14 ].
Systems thinking reflects both the functional and conceptual areas of substance abuse, as well as the burden it has on its environment, namely, drug-related crime.
Relationships within the system are depicted by stocks that are increased and decreased by flows, and the flows are governed by converters and connectors. A stock accumulates over time and is altered through flows increased by an inflow and decreased by an outflow. Thus, a stock is the representation of the net flow at a specific point in time.
Stocks and flows are, mathematically speaking, differential and integral equations. The flow between the many interrelated parts in the system is governed by feedback loops. There are two types of feedback loop: Balancing loops assist the system in reestablishing standard conditions, unlike the reinforcing loops that lead to the growth of a trend.
The interplay of these different loops leads to steady states, where the emergent whole at the end result is known as a finite one. Model and Its Boundaries This model is based on the premised idea that a community is an interacting set of systems that support or buffer the occurrence of certain dynamics, such as substance abuse and drug-related crimes.
The systemic approach to the model firstly enables us to create a system model that can capture the primary community structures and relationships stocks and flows that sustain substance abuse and drug-related crimes within the community.
Secondly, it allows us to critically test plausible strategies to reduce or counteract the problem of drug abuse. The model is derived from empirical evidence and literature since the research available concerning key stocks and flows in this model is limited and there are few published studies on the topic available, especially with regard to the Western Cape. We also make some informed assumptions based on what is currently known. In this study, the system constructed is not a single organizational entity but rather an integrated and interacting community response to substance abuse and drug-related crime, through a consideration that looks at the rehabilitation processes of both cases.
The constructed model is named the substance abuse and drug-related crime in the Western Cape SADC-WC model, for the estimation and prediction of connections between substance abuse and drug-related crime within communities in the Western Cape. The boundary of this model is the total area of the Western Cape province which constitutes one metropolitan municipality, namely, the city of Cape Town, and five district municipalities, namely, Cape Winelands, Central Karoo, Eden, Overberg, and West Coast.
The five district municipalities beset local municipalities. Moreover, police do not necessarily investigate incidents reported to them. It is not enough for police authorities to be aware of the incident; officers on duty must establish that the situation in question is a criminal justice matter.
Briefly put, the police can choose various interpretations and actions; these can include: For example, there is every reason to believe that the sharp decline in the number of drug-related offences observed in Canada between and may be explained in part by the introduction of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in By restricting police search and seizure powers, the Charter appreciably reduced the number of police actions related to drug possession.
Similarly, the introduction of alternative measures in that police officers could use when dealing with adult offenders instead of laying formal charges appears to have had a downward effect on the number of charges laid by police. Foreign data Statistics similar to those gathered in Canada on crime related to drug use, trafficking and the production of illegal drugs are published the world over.
Inmarijuana was the substance most commonly cited in drug-related arrests in member states of the European Union. The caution regarding the reliability of the Canadian statistics stated above also applies to foreign data. According to some studies in France, statistics on arrests of drug users must be used with caution, as it is difficult to determine with any certainty the extent to which observed changes reflect changes in the drug user population and whether the changes are in fact linked to changes in police and gendarmerie activities.
The link between drugs and crime highlighted in this section pertains directly to drug use and drug possession. Trafficking in, importing and producing illegal drugs are forms of crime driven by different motives, such as the need to get money to buy drugs to satisfy a drug addiction. Psychopharmacological link Many people associate drug intoxication with crime, sometimes even violent crime.
Inversely, heroin and cannabis are generally associated with a weaker desire to use violence to resolve disputes. Heroin Like marijuana, heroin generally has the effect of lowering the desire to use violence. In some cases, however, it appears that disturbed or impulsive behaviours may occur during a period of withdrawal. Cocaine abuse can cause paranoia, although that reaction appears to be infrequent among cocaine users as a whole.
Some report that cocaine use can also cause irritability and anxiety in users, especially at the end of a period of intoxication. Like cocaine, it stimulates the central nervous system. Empirical studies are particularly incomplete for this drug; however, PCP is second to alcohol as the drug most often associated with violence.
It can therefore cause strange and violent behaviour. Amphetamines The main property of amphetamines is that, like cocaine, they stimulate the central nervous system.
Amphetamine abuse can thus cause paranoia, irritability, anxiety and even toxic psychosis. Legal and Illegal Drugs in Canada, Toronto: Key Porter Books, However, evidence supporting this model is limited. The few empirical elements are drawn from research which presents numerous methodological problems and does not really help to understand the specific effects of certain drugs.
The following paragraphs present research findings which show that many criminal acts, some of them violent, are committed in Canada each year under the influence of a drug.
Illegal Drug Use and Crime: A Complex Relationship
There was a rather clear distinction between acquisitory crimes and violent crimes in the prevalence of use of drugs and alcohol. While homicides and, more pronouncedly, assaults and wounding were predominantly alcohol-related, crimes such as thefts and break and enter showed a higher prevalence of drug use on the day of the crime. The study, which dealt specifically with illegal drug use and crime, produced the following main findings: In other words, nothing in these findings clearly demonstrates that the criminal act would not have been committed if the individual had not been under the influence of drugs.
Moreover, the findings based on the link that the offender sees between his or her drug use and his or her crimes should be significantly clarified. In the view of various researchers,  some inmates prefer to associate their criminal behaviour with their drug use.
This enables them to attribute responsibility for their actions to an outside cause, i. Although for many inmates this association is indisputable, research has shown that some individuals use it as an excuse for their behaviour and to unburden themselves of part of the weight of the offence. According to the survey results, three-quarters of respondents admitted that drinking could serve as a pretext for using violence.
This deficiency forces a recognition of the fact that the reasons for violence and criminal activity go beyond the properties of the drugs themselves.
Although many studies indicate that some people used illegal drugs the day they committed their crime, there is little empirical evidence in the scientific literature to establish a direct link between crime, violence and the psychopharmacological effects of drugs. Substance abuse and criminal activity Before moving on to crime and violence caused by the illegal drug market, this section examines another aspect that may explain the link between drug use and crime, i.
More specifically, according to this explanatory model of the drug-crime relationship, the compelling and recurrent need for drugs and their high price lead some users to commit crimes to obtain the money they need to buy drugs. This model focuses on individuals who have developed a dependence on expensive drugs and assumes that the large amounts of money associated with frequent use of certain illegal drugs constitute an incentive for criminal action.
This explanation of the relationship between drugs and crime is well supported in the literature and the media. Many people attribute a great percentage of crime to this economic-compulsive link. The offenders themselves promote this association by swearing to anyone who will listen that the single cause of their involvement in crime is their heavy [drug] use.
For many, this statement is indisputable. For others, some doubt persists because, in some instances, there is a clear benefit to be gained in accepting the label of addict: Some Canadian and foreign studies have shown that the rate of use of illegal drugs is much higher among people who have been in contact with the criminal justice system than among the general population.
According to one study conducted by Forget in more than one-third of the individuals interviewed at the Montreal Detention Centre said that they had committed their crimes for the purpose of buying drugs. Similarly, the study by Brochu et al. That was the case for inmates who had committed the following crimes: The study also appears to confirm a strong link between the use of expensive drugs and the commission of criminal acts. As discussed above, some offenders consciously or not use this strategy to justify their behaviour and reject responsibility for their actions.