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Drug Crimes in Scotland

Introduction

There are many evidential sociological and psychological theories that have established a connection between abuse of drug which leads to criminal activity. Since the 1990s Scotland has been infamously titles as the “drug death capital of the world”. The rate of drug related crime in Scotland is researched to be about three times that of United Kingdom and has been a recurring issue in Scotland. The approaches to combat the problem of drug crimes has been relatively different with Scotland as it addresses the problem as a health issue and not just looks at it through the criminal lens. The problem of drug is unavoidable and have been deeply entrenched in the sociological structure that costs Scotland millions in a year. About 1.62% of the Scotland population is seen to be involved in drug related crimes and the people involved in problematic drug use ranges from 55,800- 58,900 people.

Drug crime

Generally, drug crimes relate to a group also known as problem drug users where people who have been using drug for a continuous period of time can be considered. Drugs like opioids, illicit use of benzodiazepines and others used for recreational purposes or occasionally but the prolonged use of drugs causes detrimental effect to the psychological health to the misusers and also they repeated suffer from physical, financial and other socio-legal issues due to the usage of prohibited items. Only about 10% of prolonged drug misuser tend to develop one of the above mentioned problems

Drug and crime can be related in numerous ways, the most relevant of all could entail the possession of drugs, distribution and manufacture of such drugs. Thus, drug defined offences are the violation of the law that prohibits the use of drugs in such manner and there is a category of drug related offences, wherein Goldstein’s (1985) pharmacological effects necessarily contribute and lastly, the drug related lifestyle usually speaks of the incorporation drug induced life so much so that the deviant lifestyle remains the only resort and commission of such illegal acts become the only known measure.

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  1. Mark Mcgivern, Daily Record, 2019, “Cheap street pills help turn Scotland into drug death capital of world” < https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/cheap-street-pills-help-turn-18326014> accessed on 22nd April, 2021
  2. House of Commons-Scottish Affairs Committee, “ Problem Drug use in Scotland 2019” First Report of Session 2019 < https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201919/cmselect/cmscotaf/44/44.pdf> accessed on 22nd April, 2021
  3. Ibid

In fact, most adolescent involved in repeated use of drugs tend to have delinquent behavior, which tend to integrate into their adult life. The use of drugs tend to change the sociological behaviour of an adolescent, which tends to make them distant from the social life that automatically takes a toll on their behaviour formation leading to aggression, isolation and often increase dependency on drugs which allows them to commit activities that are criminal in nature. The question may often rise as to whether drug induces criminal behaviour or the other way round. Thus, understanding the relationship between the two is substantial.

One of the most prominent risk factors and direct pathways to problem substance use is delinquency. Delin- quency may rst lead to substance use and then to problem drug taking, or may lead directly to problem drug taking. The literature also documents that one of the major forces at work in this pathology is cognitive distortion (Farabee et al. 1995). A person’s inability to really understand the inputs that are occurring around him/her may lead to drug use, and that may further lead to aggression. Aggression may then feed back and lead to drug use; both of them being affected by the pharmacologic dimensions of drug taking, distorted thinking, and aggression.

Further risk factors for problem drug taking include other comorbid conditions, such as depression and conduct disorder

One of the most prominent risk factors and direct pathways to problem substance use is delinquency. Delin- quency may rst lead to substance use and then to problem drug taking, or may lead directly to problem drug taking.

  1. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “ Drug use and Crime”, < https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=352> accessed on 22nd April, 2021

The literature also documents that one of the major forces at work in this pathology is cognitive distortion (Farabee et al. 1995). A person’s inability to really understand the inputs that are occurring around him/her may lead to drug use, and that may further lead to aggression. Aggression may then feed back and lead to drug use; both of them being affected by the pharmacologic dimensions of drug taking, distorted thinking, and aggression.

Further risk factors for problem drug taking include other comorbid conditions, such as depression and conduct disorder

One of the most prominent risk factors and direct pathways to problem substance use is delinquency. Delin- quency may rst lead to substance use and then to problem drug taking, or may lead directly to problem drug taking. The literature also documents that one of the major forces at work in this pathology is cognitive distortion (Farabee et al. 1995). A person’s inability to really understand the inputs that are occurring around him/her may lead to drug use, and that may further lead to aggression. Aggression may then feed back and lead to drug use; both of them being affected by the pharmacologic dimensions of drug taking, distorted thinking, and aggression.

Further risk factors for problem drug taking include other comorbid conditions, such as depression and conduct disord

Relationship between drug and crime

Generally, the relationship between drug and criminal behaviour is understood the Psycho-pharmacological approach that affects the mind of the user, inducing a violent behavioral tendency, or it could be a systematic approach wherein, it is an environmentally induced behavior pattern that is accepted within the community of drug users and the most prevalent could be the economic-compulsive link that is the tendency to commit criminal activities like stealing money, hurting for money or any activity that would help the sustain their drug intake. These are general links that are found in between the use of drugs and criminal behavior, but research indicates that drug use generally leads to the commission of crime through the application of the ADAM program. The research has been mainly conducted in England and Wales and goes to show that arrested people general show the consumption of illicit drugs. Digging deep into the reason of such drug dependency has largely been due to traumatic experiences, violent sexual abuse, physical abuse and assault and also due to the intention to be a part of such a community and often get induced by the peer pressure and behaviour. It wasn’t particularly necessary for drug users to end up in practicing criminal acts but it has been held by Allen that some community lives within the “subculture” where resorting to crime is a way of life and that often ends up in use of drugs.

Crime leads to drug use

If the lenses are changed and it is accepted that it is predominantly crime that allows such drug use then the restriction on the criminal activity to thrive, there could be a substantial reduction in the usage of drugs and spreading of such drug related offences. This would also allow a clarified picture for policy makers and automatically change the course of policies undertaken to curb the menace. This claim has been supported by certain theories:

Firstly, the subcultural theory speaks about an underlying set of cultures functioning within the society. This primarily suggests that the sect of people who are living in a community that functions in criminal subcultures would automatically get attracted towards behaviors that are driven by criminal acts and behavior that are anti-social in nature. Therefore, it is likely that such subsets of people would get attracted towards the use of drugs as the effects of drug use often lead people to stem far away from society and take part in social activities.

  1. Goldstein, P (1985) The drug-violence nexus; a tripartite framework. Journal of Drug Issues (Fall), 493-506.
  2. The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring
  3. Stevens A, Trace, M and Bewley-Taylor.D (2005) Reducing drug related crime: an overview of the global evidence. Beckley Foundation Drug Policy Programme. http://www.internationaldrugpolicy.net/reports/BeckleyFoundation_Report_05.pdf
  4. Allen, J. Komy, E.L., Lovbakke, J. & Roy, H. (2005) policing and the criminal Justice System-public confidence and perceptions: findings from the 2003/4 British Crime Survey. Home Office On-line Report 31/05. London: Home office. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs05/bcs0304tech1.pdf

Secondly, the theory that speaks about situational control promotes the fact that it is in the nature of the crime to insinuate human beings to undertake activities that allows them to conduct in an unrestricted form. Thus, people associated with crime in generally perform activities that allows them certain sense of independence and freedom and drugs are the closes form that allows such an act.

Thirdly, the causal web theory indicates an alternative platform that does not entertain the idea that both drug and crime could be inter dependent and they can either act independently or are dependent on a variety of alternative factors that drive such an act. Bean (2004) has developed four primary theories that entertain such a relationship. The Common origin theory is a strain that develops independently and from the same source mostly the “anti-social syndrome” It is also possible that the relationship that is developed between drug and crimes ar functions in a parasitic form as they both feed on each other and are developed from each other. This is understood through the help of reciprocal model. Lastly, in reference to the comorbidity model, it allows for us to believe that both drug usage and crime are extremely merged and functions as one and the same, or could be the result of the criminal justice system that tries to curb either of it through its developmental policies but fails to target either of them strictly.

Therefore, it must be identified that the relationship between drug and crimes are extremely complicated and in many cases it has been found that they are absolutely unrelated. This could over throw the idea that both the acts have a tendency in common but many studies lacked such evidence. However, the only desirable conclusion to the relationship would be to have a comprehensive approach in identifying either of them as it is a complex relationship and requires thorough scrutiny and analysis.

Types of crime committed by (dependent) drug users

Dependent drug users generally commit crimes in order to sustain and afford their drug induced lifestyle by committing acquisitive or crimes like theft, shoplifting etc which are also non-violent crimes. However, drug users are also known to indulge in violent acts which are often the result of alcohol consumption in committing manslaughter, murder, domestic assault etc. the existence of intrinsically violent crimes which could range from armed robbery, mugging etc. the rate of which is higher than acquisitive or non-violent crimes.

  1. Bean, P (2004) Drugs and Crime. Cullompton Willan Second edition.
  2. Farrington, D (1997) Human Development and Criminal Careers in Maguire, M et al. The oxford Handbook of Criminology. Oxford.
  3. da Agra, C. (2002). The complex structures, processes and meanings of the drug/crime relationship. In S. Brochu, Cda Agra, & M Cousineau (Eds). Drugs and Crime Deviant Pathways. Aldershot. Ashgate.
Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Drug Crime

It has been found that locations play a relatively important role in making drugs available to people which depends on certain locations and does not constitute a physical fixed structure. The locations are dynamic in nature and are not necessarily fixed at a place. The locations vary spatially and if such an activity is tied as an “ecological characteristic”, it is rather easier to have a possible idea of the changing dynamics of the locations. The drug markets are fleeting and changes over a period of time generally but such a change generally depends on a number of environmental factors. The possibilities of drug related activities take place in a society that is disorganized by normal means and possibly attracts criminal activity and generally locations are harder to track or makes it easier for either drug users or offenders to remain off limit and allow safe and secure transactions, concealment of their activities and easy escape from the location. Thus, locations for carrying out such activity are changed over a period of time which reflect in the changes in the rate of crimes as well. Thus, this could also lead to higher presence of drug activity that allows the presence of crime due to the fleeting change in locations.

If we look into the spatial dynamics of it all, it can be seen that the communities that form such an environment and entails violent activities that impacts the communities and create a violent atmosphere which could also act as a reinforcement as human beings are prone to get affected by the immediate atmosphere around them.

Theories associated with drug and crime-
  1. Deitch, David & Koutsenok, Igor & Ruiz, Amanda. (2000). The Relationship Between Crime and Drugs: What We Have Learned in Recent Decades. Journal of psychoactive drugs. 32. 391-7. 10.1080/02791072.2000.10400241.
  2. Brantingham, P. and Brantingham, P., 1995. Criminality of place. European journal on criminal policy and research, 3(3), pp.5-26.
  3. ibid
  4. Snyder, Richard & Duran-Martinez, Angelica. (2009). Does Illegality Breed Violence? Drug Trafficking and State-Sponsored Protection Rackets. Crime, Law and Social Change. 52. 253-273. 10.1007/s10611-009-9195-z.
  5. ibid
Rational Choice theory –

The concept of rational choice theory is largely inclined towards the deterrence theory wherein it is assumed that human beings tend to choose their course of action that are backed by rationality. However, coupling with the deterrent theory, it is considered that the quotient pain assessed by the person should automatically deter him from committing a crime. It is considered that a human being is influenced to practice a conduct that allows maximization of his pleasure leaning on to the utilitarian concept. The rationale behind drug users that are probably aware of the consequence only goes to show that their conducts are driven by the immediate pursuit of pleasure. However, deterrent acts should persuade the choices of the offender, thus sanctions should be able to restrict the use of drugs.

Social learning theory –

This theory is largely based on the premise that human beings are inherently social beings and the environment around the allows them to confirm their behavioral tendencies. Thus, this theory is based on the idea that offenders are influenced by the association they have and are surrounded with which does not necessarily be direct but could be indirect. There are different mechanisms that are primarily reinforcements that create a conducive environment creating a sense of security either monetarily or appreciation that allows the offender to engage in such activities. On the flip side to it, the absence of sufficient punishment often allows these reinforcements to thrive.

These theories link to our case study in a way that Scotland is increasing the drug intake due to the large amount of availability of drug supply to the members of society. However, if the drugs was not easily obtained it will be very hard for the society to be misled and this would not be a global issue.

DRUG CRIMES IN SCOTLAND

The statistics of drug crimes in Scotland is extremely alarming and has a recorded crime of about 35,303 in the year 2019/2020 alone. 86% of which is generally for simply possessing drugs and about 11% of them all had the real intention to sell those drugs. It has been further researched by the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey released in 2020 that about 44% of the crimes that ae committed that have been committed by offenders under the influence of drugs. It has also been found out that 42% of the locals had an assumption rather a belief that most of the violent activities that are being committed in the society is largely due to the massive influence of drugs and the easy availability of drugs in the locality. In assessing drug related crime, it has been found out that about 31.8% of such crimes especially concerning homicides, is linked directly with the usage of drugs and 74% of the victims that were targeted were primarily males.

  1. Snyder, Richard & Duran-Martinez, Angelica. (2009). Does Illegality Breed Violence? Drug Trafficking and State-Sponsored Protection Rackets. Crime, Law and Social Change. 52. 253-273. 10.1007/s10611-009-9195-z.
  2. Ronald L. Akers, Rational Choice, Deterrence, and Social Learning Theory in Criminology: The Path Not Taken, 81 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 653 (1990-1991)
  3. ibid
LEGISLATIVE AND POLICY FRAMEWORK
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The legislation that primary governs drugs are generally the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971 contains drugs that are generally “controlled”. The UK Government regulates these drugs which are primarily classified under three heads: Firstly, the drugs that are enlisted under class A would be cocaine, crystal meth, ecstasy, LSD, magic mushrooms, heroin, methadone and amphetamines, Secondly, the class B contains the drugs that are found in the powdered form like, ketamine, cannabis synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones and lastly, Class C includes, drugs that ranges from temazepam, valium and anabolic steroids. The second piece of legislation that also deals with Psychoactive Substances Act, 2016 like LSD, largely in relation to the ones that cause hallucinations and deals with the emotional mood of the user. The offences that are generally governed would be possession, production, supply, distribution, including import and export of these controlled drugs. This legislation outlines the process of penalties with respect to drug offences. There are International Drug Control Treaties, The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 (amended in 1972), The Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988 that govern the problems that arise in relation to the increasing drug use.

CONCLUSION

  1. Supra 2

The relationship between drugs and crime are two ways and is extremely hard to have one ideal theory that allows the explanation of whether it travels one way or not. It has been earlier evidenced that the use of drugs is dependent on a variety of factors. Most insinuating situations arise when there are sufficient loopholes for the drug market to operate seamlessly given the spatial and temporal dynamics. It has been established that a strong nexus has been found between drug users and the commission of crime which is unavoidable and creates a foundational structure that establishes the fact that drug users are more likely to engage in committing illegal activities. It is however unclear whether Scotland is suffering from the existence of home-grown drugs or whether the importation of such drugs but it has been established that the problem of drugs and increasing crime rate has been a constant factor that has kept Scotland at the very top of drug related crimes.

The only plausible recommendation that could suffice would be the decrease rate of drugs usage within Scotland that would eventually allow people to resort to criminal activity whether it is acquisitive or intrinsically violent crimes. The policing system needs to be strengthened that would allow the scrutiny of such drug markets and nip the menace right in its bud. A major crackdown needs to be carried out to restrain such overwhelming drug activity that is latently being carried on internally and strengthening surveillances that would allow easy access to the locality and crackdowns on the locality that functions as a drug market, allowing such a violent environment to thrive.

Bibliography
Journals / Books

Goldstein, P (1985) The drug-violence nexus; a tripartite framework. Journal of Drug Issues (Fall), 493-506.

Allen, J. Komy, E.L., Lovbakke, J. & Roy, H. (2005) policing and the criminal Justice System-public confidence and perceptions: findings from the 2003/4 British Crime Survey. Home Office On-line Report 31/05. London: Home office. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs05/bcs0304tech1.pdf

Bean, P (2004) Drugs and Crime. Cullompton Willan Second edition.

Farrington, D (1997) Human Development and Criminal Careers in Maguire, M et al. The oxford Handbook of Criminology. Oxford.

da Agra, C. (2002). The complex structures, processes and meanings of the drug/crime relationship. In S. Brochu, Cda Agra, & M Cousineau (Eds). Drugs and Crime Deviant Pathways. Aldershot. Ashgate.

Deitch, David & Koutsenok, Igor & Ruiz, Amanda. (2000). The Relationship Between Crime and Drugs: What We Have Learned in Recent Decades. Journal of psychoactive drugs. 32. 391-7. 10.1080/02791072.2000.10400241.

Brantingham, P. and Brantingham, P., 1995. Criminality of place. European journal on criminal policy and research, 3(3), pp.5-26.

Snyder, Richard & Duran-Martinez, Angelica. (2009). Does Illegality Breed Violence? Drug Trafficking and State-Sponsored Protection Rackets. Crime, Law and Social Change. 52. 253-273. 10.1007/s10611-009-9195-z.

Snyder, Richard & Duran-Martinez, Angelica. (2009). Does Illegality Breed Violence? Drug Trafficking and State-Sponsored Protection Rackets. Crime, Law and Social Change. 52. 253-273. 10.1007/s10611-009-9195-z.

Ronald L. Akers, Rational Choice, Deterrence, and Social Learning Theory in Criminology: The Path Not Taken, 81 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 653 (1990-1991)

Internet sources

Mark Mcgivern, Daily Record, 2019, “Cheap street pills help turn Scotland into drug death capital of world” < https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/cheap-street-pills-help-turn-18326014> accessed on 22nd April, 2021

House of Commons-Scottish Affairs Committee, “ Problem Drug use in Scotland 2019” First Report of Session 2019 < https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201919/cmselect/cmscotaf/44/44.pdf> accessed on 22nd April, 2021

Bureau of Justice Statistics, “ Drug use and Crime”, < https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=352> accessed on 22nd April, 2021

Stevens A, Trace, M and Bewley-Taylor.D (2005) Reducing drug related crime: an overview of the global evidence. Beckley Foundation Drug Policy Programme. http://www.internationaldrugpolicy.net/reports/BeckleyFoundation_Report_05.pdf


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