Sunday, December 2, 2012

Juvenile Delinquency And The Role of Drug Use

Does drug use cause minors to engage in criminal activity? There are many factors and theories to take into consideration when determining the correlation between juvenile delinquents and drug use. It is important to understand the roots of these issues, as well as learning the best way to prevent this problem originally, and to understand the best types of rehabilitation for delinquents. If you ever met or heard of someone that engages in criminal activity or drug use, you might understand that there is some sort of relationship between the two offenses. With research and studies, criminologists have explored their affiliation with one another.

Juvenile's Commit Crimes to Escape Reality 

 To understand juvenile delinquency, we first need to get a basic overview with why young people turn to crime to begin with. Many teens turn to other outlets for coping with stress, curiosity, peer pressure, to rebel, or even just pleasure. According to a website called, "Drug and Alcohol Rehab" , a drug user has little social support, so they turn to drugs to replace the important relationships that they are missing. We also need to take into consideration other aspects of ones life, such as mental health, family life, socioeconomic factors, race and family life.

 Juvenile Delinquency and Drug Use have a Mutual Relationship

Graph showing the rates of types of drugs used by minors.
Source: University of Michigan

According to an article, “Most Juvenile Offenders Use Drugs and Alcohol” by CASA News Release, four out of five juvenile delinquents are abusing alcohol and drugs while committing their crimes. Therefore, it is clear that there is some sort of relationship. The affiliation between crime and drug use doesn’t have one exact explanation, but there are some factors that allow them to benefit from one another. 

Drug use and delinquency are correlated because some types of crime, such as theft or robbery, are too finance their substance abuse problems. Lets also take into consideration that drug use is a crime itself, so obviously a drug user’s morals and values don’t reflect a good person. Put that with a developing juvenile brain, and you can understand more about the causes of juvenile delinquency. 

Laura Dykstra works as a Faculty Research Associate for the Center on Young Health and Development at The University of Maryland. Laura believes that there is certainly a relationship between juvenile delinquency and drug abuse, but believes there are many reasons why these two are affiliated with each other. 

Laura explains that there isn’t exactly a casual relationship, but that drug use and delinquency might be caused by low self-control in an individual. The Low Self Control Theory, which is a general theory of crime, states that when people have low self-control don’t stop themselves from engaging in crime and act on impulse, which is something that they learn at a very young age.

Prevention and Rehabilitation benefits the Individual and their Family

According to Student Pulse, the best way to stop juvenile delinquency is early intervention with a child. Once a person engages in criminal activity, they already have a developed mindset about crime. So, the best prevention is too take action before crime is even an option for a child. Some early prevention techniques will include school programs and quality family life. If an individual feels as if they have social support, it will alleviate the feeling that they need to turn to crime. The best prevention programs will concentrate not only on the individual, but also their home life. Their parents will also be a part of the programs so they know how to deal with their children if they start showing risky behaviors. 

Laura also believes that early intervention is the best way to prevent juvenile delinquency. However, when a child already has engaged in criminal activity there must be strong rehabilitation programs to help the young adult reestablish a new life.

Rehabilitation is extremely crucial to a juvenile delinquent so they can reform their life before it is too late. According to Kelie Darbouze, who has done research in this field at The University of Maryland, group therapy, group housing and family therapy are all effective ways to help a troubled juvenile.

Group therapy is effective because it allows a group of troubled individuals to talk among one another, with the therapist monitoring and only intervening at particular points. The group of individuals share common characteristics and are able to relate on certain experiences and issues in their lives, allowing them to open up more. 

Group Housing is also another effective strategy in the rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents. Sometimes when an individual returns home after committing crime, the same setting may tempt them to become a repeated offender. However, when they go to a different house setting in a safe, but strict environment with new people (who are going through the same thing) it helps them transition better into society. 
Family Therapy
Photo Credit:

Lastly, family therapy gives the family a chance to create strong social bonds, that might have been misplaced before hand. Social bonds with family are extremely important, so they know that they are being supported by their loved ones.

Crime is unavoidable, we actually need it to be a functioning society. Crime and drug use not only affects the people surrounding the criminal, but also the criminal, themselves. There is no exact solution to crime or to one hundred percent prevent juvenile’s to engage in crime, but with the proper techniques we can eliminate some crime, or at least reduce the severity of crimes committed. After reading about the topic, what is your opinion of the relationship between juvenile delinquency and drug use, from a public eye point of view? Listen to my dad's opinion.  

1 comment:

  1. I could'nt here your dads opinion, but my opinion is that if we had more families that showed caring to there child and discipline also then there would'nt be as much juvenile deliquents now. I have 3 children of my own and is a silgle parent going on 7 years and its been a journey. i have a 13, 14, 15 and to descipline them and talk to them about stories of juveniles has impacted there life skills and how they make their choices in life. Im very pround of them. Your article explains great techniques, thank you.