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CRIM 212 Drugs Crime Nexus

CRIM212 julian.buchanan@vuw.ac.nz

Julian Buchanan

on 21 October 2015

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Transcript of CRIM 212 Drugs Crime Nexus

Drug Law
Dangerous and controlled drugs
Drug Policy in 21st century
"The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.

Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed."

NZ MDA 1975
Drug - Crime

Drugs & CJS
CRIM 212 Drugs and Crime
Extracted from:
Buchanan J (2009) Understanding and misunderstanding problem drug use: working together, in R Carnwell & J Buchanan (eds) Effective Practice in Health, Social Care & Criminal Justice: A partnership approach, Open University Press, Maidenhead.
Extracted from:

Buchanan J (2008) Understanding and engaging with problematic substance use, in Addressing Offending Behaviour – Context, Practice, Values. pp.246-264, edited by Simon Green, Elizabeth Lancaster and Simon Feasey, Willan Publishing.

Library link to online book:
Substance Defined
– actions involving substances that are specifically mentioned and defined by legislation as criminal, e.g. possession of heroin, driving with excess alcohol, giving an ecstasy tablet to a friend.

Substance defined crimes are socially constructed. These crimes are more easily measured
Substance Influenced
Crimes that don’t refer to substance use but are committed when ‘under the influence’ or intoxicated by a substance. Substance influenced crimes are more difficult to measure.

It involves a judgment that:
a) the offender is under the influence of a substance, and
b) intoxication played some part in the commission of the offence.
Substance Related
The crime doesn't refer to substance use, they are not committed while under the influence but are somehow connected, related and/or motivated by substance use.

Typically a habitual user who steals from a shop in order to fund a drug habit. These crimes require an assessment that the person is involved in drug using or dealing, and secondly that the crime was in some way related to their involvement in drugs.
Physically drugs cause people to change. They become physically addicted and biologically lose control of themselves – they become hooked, can’t help themselves - they commit crime. Some argue it’s a disease or brain disorder.
A drug-centred lifestyle involving other criminal activity is understood as deviant behaviour belonging to a sub cultural group who don't adhere to the the dominant norms of culturally approved behaviours.
The Law Commission Review of the 1975 MDA

A mandatory cautioning scheme for all personal possession and use offences that come to the attention of the police, removing minor drug offenders from the criminal justice system and providing greater opportunities for those in need of treatment to access it.

A full scale review of the current drug classification system which is used to determine restrictiveness of controls and severity of penalties, addressing existing inconsistencies and focusing solely on assessing a drug’s risk of harm, including social harm.
The drugs alcohol, tobacco and caffeine are not classified
Psychologically drugs causes people to change personality. They lose self control, lose morality and lose values. They are enslaved by an external locus of control and can't control their behaviour, including commiting crime.
Drug dependence and crime are to do with poverty and economic necessity - people with very limited means commit crime simply because they can’t afford to pay for their drug habit. If they could afford the drug or obtain a clean free legal supply like they wouldn't commit crime.
Drug taking does not cause crime but they are associated with deeper underlying issues such as; inequality, a lack of social capital and social exclusion. Drug dependence and crime provides isolated and discarded working class people with structure, meaning, purpose, rewards and identity - things they have little or no legitimate access to otherwise.
There is no connection with drug consumption and criminal behaviour, but it is prohibition itself is the main cause of criminal activity. Prohibition creates a lucrative highly profitable drug trade in which 'dealers' must manage their illicit business completely outside of the protection and regulations offered by the law. Prohibition breeds gangsters, violence and money laundering - as illustrated in the USA with alcohol in the 1920s – it’s no different with drugs.
Taking drugs does not result in criminal behaviour. Around 95% of illicit drug users do not have a drug problem and don't commit crime (apart from drug defined crime) as a result of taking drugs, - no more than a person taking tobacco, alcohol or caffeine would end committing crime.

1998 UN Declaration http://www.un.org/ga/20special/poldecla.htm
“Drugs destroy lives and communities, undermine sustainable human development and generate crime.
Drugs affect all sectors of society in all countries; in particular, drug abuse affects the freedom and development of young people, the world’s most valuable asset.
Drugs are
a grave threat to the health and well-being of all mankind”.
‘Drug misuse can ruin individual lives, tear open families and blight whole communities with the menace of dealers and crime driven by drug abuse

… [we need to get] more drug dealers – people who profit in the misery of others – behind bars… vicious circle of drugs and crime
Drugs are a scourge on the world,

Caroline Flint, Home Office Minister quoted in drink and drugs news 10 January 2005 p.7
& Fear

Source: Guerino, P. M., Harrison, P., & Sabol, W. (2011). Prisoners in 2010. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics
current drug policy: results in racial oppression and mass incarceration
It is time to stop sloganeering and insist to all of
our political representatives and to our media
that Australia must have an informed national
debate about the alternatives to a policy that
has failed disastrously and is criminalising
our young. (p.23)
there is room within the conventions for taking a more flexible approach to small-scale dealing and personal possession and use, particularly where these activities are linked to addiction p.9
We consider that the supply by drug users of small amounts of drugs with no significant element of commerciality (“social dealing”) is entirely different from commercial dealing. p.12
We recommend that it no longer be an offence to possess utensils for the purpose of using drugs. p.13
We have concluded that a mandatory cautioning scheme is the most appropriate response to personal possession and use offences that come to the attention of the police. This option provides a formal opportunity, at the earliest stages of the criminal justice process, to consider the drug treatment needs of low-level drug offenders. It is also consistent with the direction of the Government’s 2009 Methamphetamine Action Plan, which notes that “sending users to prison rather than diverting users to [alcohol and other drug treatment] can make the problem worse” and includes proposals to divert users from the criminal justice system at an early stage.

The key objectives of the proposed cautioning scheme are twofold: ·· to remove minor drug offences from the criminal justice system; and ·· to provide greater opportunities for those in need of treatment to access it. (p.14)
Key stakeholders in Portugal were in general agreement that there has been
small to moderate increases in overall reported drug use among adults. Yet, there were differences as opinion regarding three issues, namely whether the reported increase is: real, significant/concerning and attributable to the reform. (p.1005)
Portuguese trends largely mimicked the trends observed in neighbouring Spain and Italy (see Tables 3 and 4). All three nations reported increases in lifetime prevalence of hashish, amphetamines and cocaine as well as increases in the last year prevalence of cannabis and cocaine use.
Thus, while general population trends in Portugal suggest slight increases in lifetime and recent illicit drug use, studies of young and problematic drug users suggest that use has declined. P.1008
Portugal is the only of these nations to have exhibited declines in PDU provides strong evidence that the Portuguese decriminalization has not increased the most harmful forms of drug use. P.1008
Lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use amongst school students in Portugal, Italy and the European Union, aged 15–16, 1995–2007
by drug type and country. Source: Hibell et al. (2009).
the reform provides important evidence for the debate on the impacts of decriminalization. It demonstrates that—contrary to some predictions —decriminalization does not inevitably lead to rises in drug use. It can reduce the burden upon the criminal justice system. It can further contribute to social and health benefits. Moreover, such affects can be observed when decriminalizing all illicit drugs. P.1016
small increases in reported illicit drug use amongst adults;
reduced illicit drug use among problematic drug users and adolescents, at least since 2003;
reduced burden of drug offenders on the criminal justice system;
increased uptake of drug treatment;
reduction in opiate-related deaths and infectious diseases; increases in the amounts of drugs seized by the authorities;
reductions in the retail prices of drugs. P.1017
there are no signs of mass expansion of the drug market in Portugal ... The Portuguese evidence suggests that combining the removal of criminal penalties with the use of alternative therapeutic responses to dependent drug users offers several advantages. It can reduce the burden of drug law enforcement on the criminal justice system, while also reducing problematic drug use. ...
holds numerous benefits, principally of increased opportunity to integrate drug users and to address the causes and damages of [problematic] drug use. p.1018
1. Psycho-pharmacological
2. Economic compulsive model
3. Systematic
Bean, P., 2008. Drugs and Crime, 3rd ed. Willan.

Buchanan J (2008) Understanding and engaging with problematic substance use, in Addressing Offending Behaviour – Context, Practice, Values. pp.246-264, edited by Simon Green, Elizabeth Lancaster and Simon Feasey, Willan Publishing.

Bennett, T., Holloway, K., 2005. Understanding Drugs, Alcohol And Crime. McGraw-Hill International.

Bennett, T., Holloway, K., 2009. The Causal Connection Between Drug Misuse and Crime. Br J Criminol 49, 513–531.

Hughes, C.E., Stevens, A., 2010. What Can We Learn From The Portuguese Decriminalization of Illicit Drugs? British Journal of Criminology 50, 999–1022.

Controlling and Regulating Drugs – A Review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 by NZ Law Commission (2011) http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/2011/05/part_1_report_-_controlling_and_regulating_drugs.pdf

The Global Commission on Drug Policy Report: War on Drugs (2011):
Further Reading:
'we all know only too well of the scourge methamphetamine is causing to families and communities, up and down our country through the many P-fuelled murders and violent crimes that have occurred in recent times'
Peter Dunne NZ Drug Symposium
World Prison
Drug Defined
Class A & B Drugs
GUESS ORDER (& number):
Guess the most dangerous drug?
Full transcript