By Philip Bean
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Extra info for Drugs and crime
Other studies elsewhere show roughly similar results. For example, in the Drug Use Monitoring programme (DUMA) in Australia, Makkai and McGregor (2002) looked at those users detained and brought to a police station. The data taken from four sites refer to about 2,000 detainees. These show that 57% had a prior arrest in the past 12 months, excluding the current arrest and, of those, 52% tested positive for heroin, amphetamine or cocaine. In terms of imprisonment, 20% had been in prison in the last 12 months and of these 59% tested positive to heroin, amphetamine or cocaine.
Dealers have to secure financial transactions in an otherwise crooked world, with no one else to enforce the contracts. Protecting these transactions takes up most of their time. Most will find it necessary to employ those familiar with intimidation or violence in order to collect debts and enforce discipline. Dorn et al. (1992) describe how a new breed of criminal was attracted to the drugs world. Whether this was a new breed or an old breed attracted by the possibility of offering their services is not known.
It is better to offer something less deterministic – that is, use the term ‘cause‘ in its weakest sense where there are no sufficient conditions but there may be necessary ones. So to say drugs cause crime would be to say drug use is associated with criminal behaviour. Little has been said of some of the methodological problems within drug research which should lead to even greater levels of caution when 22 Drugs and crime: theoretical assumptions it comes to interpreting results. For example, rarely do the studies have a control group of non-drug users to make comparisons.