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Drug Addiction and Crime

Drug Addiction and Crime

Drug addiction and crime often go hand in hand. Sustaining drug addiction is expensive, and many addicts will go to great lengths to get their fix.

In addition to the cost of drugs, the possession and abuse of certain drugs is also illegal. A substance abuse disorder can prevent someone from fulfilling their responsibilities at work. Many individuals with drug addictions struggle to keep their jobs, often resulting in homelessness. Despite these problems, however, many addicts resort to criminal activity to maintain their habit. 

As a drug rehab in Illinois, we’re aware of the behavior addicts may resort to in order to feed an active addiction. Our licensed and trained staff are dedicated to helping every patient that walks through our doors achieve sobriety and avoid the repercussions of long-term drug abuse. 

The Connection Between Drug Abuse and Crime

For many addicts, they hit a point where they rely on criminal activity to support their substance abuse. For this reason, many people with substance abuse disorders have long histories with the law. Especially for individuals who are opposed to seeking addiction treatment, they’re more likely to have repeated run-ins with the law. It’s not uncommon for drug addicts to have multiple arrests and several prison sentences on their records. Many addicts may look to stealing money or things they can sell for money to buy drugs. 


Because unemployment and drug addiction are linked to each other, many addicts are unemployed and don’t have the finances to maintain a home, let alone keep up their substance abuse. These individuals are often driven to criminal activity, like stealing, to gain the means to continue using. While the more hardcore, drug-related crimes like trafficking and distribution can be linked to many prison inmates, individuals who struggle with addictions may turn to petty crimes to buy enough for the moment. 

Domestic Abuse

Drug abuse is also heavily associated with violent behavior. Many domestic abuse cases involve drugs or alcohol. Long-term substance abuse can change the brain’s chemical makeup, affecting a person’s mood and behavior. Especially if the individual is lacking in their usual supply, they can be especially irritable and are more likely to act out aggressively. 

Drug Possession 

Drug possession charges are also common among drug addicts. While many states are in the process of legalizing marijuana, other drugs, like cocaine, crack cocaine, meth, and heroin are illegal. A person caught with possession of these drugs can receive some hefty fines and jail time depending on the substance in question and the amount they had on their person. 

At Banyan Chicago, we offer different treatments for various types of substance abuse disorders. From cocaine to opiate addiction treatment, each program is designed to address the substance-specific repercussions. 

Drug Addiction and Crime Statistics

Drug addiction and crime have often been linked to each other through multiple studies. While not all those who are incarcerated have a history of drug abuse or drug-related crimes, there is a significant correlation between addiction and crime. 

  • A 2010 study reported that 70 percent of male prisoners had drug addictions in comparison to the 11.2 percent rate of drug abuse among the United States male population as a whole. Reports also showed that 21.4 percent of aggressive crimes were committed by criminals who abused drugs and alcohol simultaneously.1
  • Drug trafficking is a big contributor to drug-related criminal activity in the U.S. According to the United States Sentencing Commission, out of the 71,003 reported cases of 2015, 19,792 of them were related to drug trafficking. The drugs involved in these cases include meth, marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, and oxycodone.
  • The 2012 statistics from the Department of Justice and Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that the correctional population was at nearly 6,937,000. 4,794,000 of those inmates were on probation or parole, with drug law violations being the most common type of criminal offense among them.3

Both addiction and criminal activity can individually break down a family unit; together, they’re catastrophic. If you’re struggling with a drug addiction, the best thing you can do for yourself and those around you is get professional help.

Call Banyan Treatment Centers Chicago today at 888-280-4763 to find out more about our different levels of care.  

  1. NCBI- The Relationship Between the Type of Crime and Drugs in Addicted Prisoners in Zahedan Central Prison
  2. USSC- Drug Trafficking Offenses
  3. NIH- Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Drug Addiction and Crime
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