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Juvenile Use of Drug and Committing of Crime Coursework

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Updated: Jun 9th, 2022


In the present context of the world when science and technology are seen to be solely responsible for dramatic improvement in the lives of all human beings in almost all walks of life, it is regrettable to state that some social evils have also caught pace and are now haunting the entire world with their negative impact on society as a whole and individuals as units of this bigger whole. One such evil in today’s world that is seen as more like a growing challenge for both the developing and the technologically advanced countries is the increasing use of drugs (including alcohol) by young people as old as 13 years and their turning to the criminal conduct of violent and other activities. There is massive concern being raised in the world with regard to this social evil alone because of the mayhem it is creating for the world. Policymaking is seen as one single factor that can play a vital role in fighting this growing problem. A number of studies have been conducted to find out if there is any link between drug use by juveniles and their turning to criminal activities. However, current research also suggests that there are loopholes in the whole fabric of the research that needs to take into consideration before initiatives for solid policymaking can be undertaken. The present research proposal is one in the series to fill the gaps in the present research and find out if there is any link between juvenile drug use and criminal conduct. This way the study is very important because it aims to address this issue from a number of different angles with the hopes that the findings will prove highly significant both for future research and policymaking. The present research proposal addresses major areas like literature review; it discusses in detail the research methodology and its rationale to form the basis of data generation. Moreover, the data analysis section in also backed up by rationale to prove effective for the entire whole of the research.

Proposed Study

The proposed study aims to focus on the relationship between juvenile use of drugs and turning to criminal conduct while still under the influence of different substances like heroin, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and so on. The study undertakes a literature review in this section to bring forth important findings on drug-crime relations among young offenders and reaches a theory based on the literature review. A literature review is aimed to make connections with different findings on the concerned issue to form a cohesive whole for the present research.

Literature Review

Today crime committed by juveniles and their use of different drugs in this relation is being talked about with high concerns both by the authorities and the citizens. While conducting extensive research over the Internet, the present writer found that juvenile criminal activities and their use of drugs are a high concern in a number of countries. However, the United States of America, Australia, South Africa, the UK, and other European countries seem to report serious data about juvenile crime and its relation to the use of drugs. According to experts, in South Africa, there is so much wrong that’s putting juveniles using drugs and committing crimes to back their habits of drug use. This is combined with a system of justice that is inefficient and exposes juveniles to stay with hardened criminals only to become like them in the future. In all the largest cities of South Africa, the youth are into anything like amphetamine, crack cocaine, and heroin. In a summit on drug use and its relation to crime in juveniles, the director, Conny Nxumalo, stated that there is increased use of substances among young people which is causing the crime rate to rise. According to Western Cape statistics, since 2004 substance use among youth is increasing and so has the crime rate pointed Deborah von Stade. At Drug Abuse Research Unit, Prof. Charles Parry seems to agree with the above observation though he estimates the statistics to fall short of actual happening which is more horrible. Latest police records also show that there is an increase of 11691 cases in 2005-2006 as compared to 2004-2005. There are some efforts being put by authorities such as the Children’s Justice Bill, which will address specifically the needs of children, but is yet to be passed by parliament (Experts: drug abuse fuels juvenile crime, 2008).

In the United States of America, the situation is aggravating as well. Browsing the drug-crime-related records from as long back as 1995 tells us that the drug-crime nexus is actively present in juvenile-related crime statistics. For instance, in 1995, an FBI report showed that though crime among youth declined that year, the use of drugs increased which experts view as a threat to noticing more criminal activities in the future (Youth Crime, 1996). However, it is important to compare this situation with a present one. One such study was conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and came up with soaring findings. This study bears immensely significant because it was undertaken over a five-year period. According to the report, the overall number of juvenile arrests has been increasing by each year. Out of 2.4 million juvenile arrests, 1.9 were of those who were found to be under substance abuse and committing crimes. Drugs and alcohol were found to be actively implicated in 64% of violent offenses, 72% of offenses related to property; whereas 81% of offenses were noted to be vandalism, assaults, and disorderly behavior. Another important factor that the report pointed out was that Juvenile justice systems were not adequately addressing the needs of juveniles and are becoming more training colleges for these youths to mature with their unlawful routines. This variable must be kept in view because to me it seems very critical. Surprising is the finding that ever since 1991, drug use and its relation to crime among female juveniles have increased something like 7.4%; in black juveniles, it is 1.5 as much as that in white juveniles, and so on (Newswire, 2004).

For a number of different districts and vicinities, taken as isolated cases for our study, the situation is alarming with regard to drug use among young people and their inclination toward criminal activities. One such instance is from Hamilton County where a report suggests that in 1996 the youth crime rate doubled in merely a decade; however, more surprising is the information that offenses related to drug use by juveniles quadrupled from 76 to 146 in 1995. Here, an important point is an increase in drug trafficking in such places as Hamilton County which must be seen as a strong variable to the focus of the research that aims to find out the drug-crime-juvenile relationship with each other (Perry, 1996). A similar report suggests that access to drugs and firearms by youths is a major problem for the entire disorder (Pierre, 1995).

Apart from straight statistics and figures provided by different departments, a review of scholarly journals paints a bleak picture also with regard to research on drug problems and criminals such as those belonging to the young age group. Brunelle et. al (2000) conducted an in-depth study that specifically explored the link between juvenile delinquency and its link with the use of different drugs. They based their study on the personal perceptions of youth regarding their experiences; hence the study is reviewed here for an insight into the issue at scrutiny. The authors employed a number of research models because they focused on the subjective logic of the sample youths in their study so that the actual findings emerge. They employed Goldstein’s psychopharmacological model: Tripartite, which relates that intoxicating effects used by youth may trigger violence in them because this has to be seen as affecting the user’s central nervous system that has much to investigate about. Brochu’s common cause model was also used. They review a number of studies that relate this issue with juvenile delinquency. They took a total of 38 youths and interviewed them, keeping in view important dependent and independent variables (institutionalized and non-institutionalized) and conducted a thematic analysis and within-case analysis as their primary data analyses technique. They used a number of complex tools to sift the data into clear findings that emerged after the complete analysis. Data showed there was a link between economic access and the standard of drugs the youths used: most used cheap substances. The data also showed that the youths used drugs to “have more fun when committing a crime”, a point not touched in Goldstein’s model. The more drugs youths use, the more their life becomes centered on one thing: they wouldn’t want to leave their regular dose, hence turn to burglaries, thefts, and other such crimes. Peer pressure was another variable that emerged from the data. A girl revealed that she used drugs because she wanted to save her face in front of her peers. However, the major findings of the research are confusing as well as surprising. According to the entire data and their analyses, the central patterns that came out were that some of the sample youth did not see the use of drugs to be related to their commitment to crime; while to others, there was an indirect link between their use of drug and commitment of a crime. The former was especially the case with the institutionalized youth who saw using drugs and criminal attempts as merely a means of respect by their peers. Others stated that evaluation of personality is very important in linking crime with the use of drugs. However, the authors did come up with their own analysis. They view the whole situation from a different viewpoint. They argue that “drugs and crimes are sometimes so tightly linked that it becomes hard, for the youths themselves and for us, to understand the relation between the two and that we should see these behaviors within the scope of a wider deviant lifestyle”. According to them, it is clear after this research that youth do indulge in deviant lifestyles which suggests quite a clear link between drug use and criminal activities by the youth sampled in the study (Brunelle et. al, 2000).


Viewed from this perspective, drug-crime relation among youth becomes a very crucial point in further exploration of the issue. It is not possible to assert that research has found out whether or not there is a direct or even an indirect link between criminal offenses by juveniles and their use of drugs. There are a number of variables that must be taken into consideration before any nut-hard conclusions can be reached. Because these variables are highly complex, available research has not encircled to focus it adequately for a proper conclusion which is not surprising. However, the theory that can be formed through the literature review conducted above is that there is some inherent link between criminal conduct by youths and their use of drugs. Now there is a need to point out what motivators, variables, and situations play their role in linking or disjoining this link. To me, it is important to conduct research that involves juvenile delinquents’ indirect data generation as is evident in Brunelle, et. al (2000). This way direct findings can emerge that will discuss this issue at length.


The hypothesis that can be formed by the present findings of the research can be: There is an active link between drug use by juveniles and their criminal conduct of varied nature.


The methodology that is adopted for this research is a triangulation of data or mixed methodological design. The research design for this study is based on a mixed methodological design in which numerous research data sources will be used to find the link and analysis or relevant data. According to Johnson and Onwuegbuzie:

“Mixed-method kind of research draws upon the strengths of both quantitative and qualitative analysis, which enables the researcher to draw upon several methodologies in measuring the variables of the study.” (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, p. 14, 2004).

As such statistics, findings from secondary sources, and primary research (interviews of juveniles convicted; related spokespersons of different departments like drug control and law) will be employed to pursue the hypothesis put in the above section. These interviews will be conducted through close-ended survey questionnaires to save both time and money as well as to save the immense labor of data analysis.

There are a number of different methods to sample a population of research. The sampling for this research will be decided later while the research will be conducted. However, at this time in point, convenient sampling is what is viewed to be more appropriate to the design of the present research. This is because of the limited scope of the study being conducted. The chief aim of the study is to bring into view data and evidence from different sources to form a thorough analysis.

Ethical consideration with regard to samples of the study will be given acute value. Proper research style will be followed to avoid any mishap in this area. Additionally, names, locations, and other important information will be kept secret to respect the sample population’s well-being.


The data analysis from the secondary sources will be done quantitatively. Statistics and figures from different sources will be put to cross-examination with other sources to reach a solid ground conclusion. The very data will also be compared with statistics and figures of the past time (say five years into the past) to see what changes in figures have occurred in the area of research. Primary data would be the interviews of the convicted juveniles and personnel from the related departments. These interviews will be examined thematically. Major components of the close-ended survey questionnaires will be examined separately and then an overall evaluation of the findings will be reached. At the end of the entire data analysis, it is the objective of the present researcher to match the findings from both the data type and form a cohesive whole to reach the bigger conclusion of the research.


The study is highly significant in the case that it will address the underlying issues of drug-crime relation in juvenile delinquency and is aimed to generate findings in the very area. Because the present body of research on this area is still in the development phase, this study will contribute to the existing knowledge of drug-crime relations among young people by bringing out their point of view as to why they commit crimes and the what, why, and how of their use of different drugs while they commit an offense. Moreover, the viewpoint of responsible personnel of the concerned department will help build up strongly on the finding of the other side of the research sample. In addition to this, the research design of the present study will be vital to make it a legitimate document on the present topic. This is because of the fact that the present research aims to employ a number of different sources to pinpoint the causes of why youths use drugs and what is the link between their use of drugs and committing crimes. The study will be significant for future research and policymaking in the area of drug use by the youth and their inclination toward committing crimes. As such, the study will provide a thorough basis on which initiating policy formation and future research can be based. The present research proposal addresses major areas like literature review; it discusses in detail the research methodology and its rationale to form the basis of data generation. Moreover, the data analysis section is also backed up by rationale to prove effective for the entire whole of the research.

Works Cited

“Experts: drug abuse fuels juvenile crime. (News) (2007).” Pretoria News (South Africa). Independent News & Media PLC. 2007. HighBeam Research. Web.

“Youth crime: the battle of the reports. (FBI statistics show that juvenile crime dropped in 1995, but experts warn that the problem could grow and point to rising drug use among teens) (1996).” U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News and World Report, L.P. 1996. HighBeam Research. Web.

Brunelle, N.; Brochu; Cousineau, (2000). “Drug-crime relations among drug-consuming juvenile delinquents: A tripartite model and more.” Contemporary Drug Problems. Federal Legal Publications, Inc. NY. 2000. HighBeam Research. Web.

Johnson, R. B. & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2004), “Mixed Methods Research: A Research Paradigm Whose Time Has Come”. Educational Researcher, 33 (7), 14-26.

Newswire (2004). “Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Addiction Implicated in Four of Five Crimes Committed by Juvenile Arrestees; Only 3.6 Percent of the 1.9 Million Substance-Involved Juvenile Arrestees Receive Substance Abuse Treatment.” PR Newswire. PR Newswire Association LLC. 2004. HighBeam Research.Web.

Perry, K. (1996). “JUVENILE CRIME DOUBLES IN DECADE.(NEWS).” The Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati, OH). Thomson Scientific, Inc. 1996. HighBeam Research. Web.

Pierre, T. (1995). “Arrests Soar for Violent Crime by Juveniles; Justice Department Study Cites Increased Access to Firearms, Drugs.” The Washington Post. Washington Post Newsweek Interactive Co. 1995. HighBeam Research. Web.

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