Drug use and the effects on Juvenile Delinquency

Drug use and the effects on Juvenile Delinquency

Executive Summary

Drug abuse and addiction is a social problem that affects the community heavily. It is costly to treat and control the sale of illegal drugs. It has become a significant health problem. Drug abuse leads to the creation of unstable society members who are prone to violence. A number of measures have been implemented to help solve the problem.  These measures include tight laws on the sale of drugs, rehabilitation centres and other forms of science-based treatments. Interestingly, there is increasing the number of adolescents and youths that are getting addicted to the use of drugs and ultimately abusing them. Several reasons are identified in this paper that leads to this tender age of individuals to get involved in drug and substance abuse. The trends that are involved in this area are covered, and they incorporate racial disparity, drug use and rate and popularity of drugs. In the verge of combatting the menace of drug and substance abuse, it has been established that there is a direct relation between drug use and the effects on juvenile delinquency. Additionally, the paper will cover the areas of applications of the drug use and effects on Juvenile delinquency. Finally, assumptions, recommendations and policy issues are brought out.


There is a direct connection between drug abuse and delinquency. Some of the consequences that arise from the juvenile justice system include arrest, adjudication and intervention for several youths that are betrothed in drug abuse and use of alcohol(Gary, Linda & Karen, 2004). One cannot claim that the abuse of drugs results in delinquent behaviours or that delinquency causes drug abuse though there is a strong correlation between the two. The correlation and the intertwinement of delinquency and drug abuse be seen to bring about school and family problems most individuals engaging in negative activities. Matthew 7:17 reiterates that illicit drugs are condemned and not good for the body and associates bad habits and happenings to them. Some of the known negativities include lack of social restraint in the neighbourhood, physical and sexual abuses. Possession of the drugs, as well as the use of the drugs, is illegal for all youths given the several side effects that are seen(Paddock, 2005). However, there is a strong correlation between alcohol use and drug abuse and delinquent behaviour seen in juveniles. The abuse of drugs is linked with both violent and income-generating crimes by youths. Owing to have been stretched (Holloway, Bennett & David, 2005). Some of the negativities that are linked with the drug abuse among juveniles include gang, drug trafficking, prostitutions, increased incidents of homicides among the youths.


There have been some trends among the youths observed in the use of drugs and their effects on juvenile delinquency. In this study, the paper dissects the trends in the line of rate and popularity of drug usage; racial disparity and drug abuse results observed over time(Homel, 2004). An overview of the history of the correlation between drug use and their effects on juvenile delinquency is given to provide an in-depth understanding of the behaviour.

Rate and Popularity of Drugs

The rate and popularity of drugs use in the juveniles are monitored by some major surveys like the Monitoring and Future study which collects data of the youths that are between 8th to 12th grade and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health collecting data from juveniles that are aged 12 to 18. The three most common drugs among the youth are alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, and they often refer them to as soft drugs(Homel, 2004). Last year, 20% of the youths in the US were estimated to have used alcohol though the rates of the use of the drugs differed along the demographic lines(National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2014). The rates and popularity of the usage of the drugs seemingly are seen to grow as youths approach adolescence. In several instances, the soft drugs like alcohol and tobacco are the first drugs to be introduced followed by marijuana that then ushers in the use of hard drugs at older ages. Some of the reasons behind the abuse of the drugs are identified to lead to these statistics include peer pressure, the influence of neighbourhood, and family history.

Racial Disparity

There is very big racial disparity witnessed as a result of the juveniles arrested and the cases that are processed for the violations of drug laws. The largest disparity is seen between Caucasian and African American youth. In most cases, the processing of cases of African American youths is fast and at higher rates, as compared to Caucasian even though those arrested for violating drug laws among Caucasians are 16 to 17-year-old males. In several instances, Caucasian youths are less likely to have their drugs cases petitioned. Consequently, the Caucasians youths are often not detained incarcerated, and their cases are usually referred to as adult court. In 2002, for instance, data from the FBI indicates that 65% of African American juvenile drug cases were petitioned in comparison to that of Caucasian, which represented juvenile drug cases (Marlowe, 2010). In the same year, the proportion of African American youths that were detained for drug offences was more than double that of Caucasian youth and approximately twice that of other races. The conviction of American African youths was at 33%, the Caucasian stood at 16% while the other races convicted represented 17%(Gary, Linda & Karen, 2004).

Drugs Abuse Results

The trends of drug abuse results are worrying at least according to the trends that have been defined. According to the results of Home Office Research in the US, the juveniles arrested were found to have 11% of the 16 to 20-year olds tested positive for opiates and 5% of this age bracket tested for cocaine. A greater number, approximately 65% of this age population had used cannabis while 20% had a greater feeling of using it (National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2014). 10% of this age group had used cocaine and averagely 6% had used heroin. Among the serious offenders that were convicted last year, 2013, aged between 12 and 17, 38% were males and 20% females and had used the drugs for more than a year. Thus, among the offenders, it is established that crack cocaine and heroin are the most abused drugs. Most cases, the offenders, would commit crimes to get money for alcohol or drugs(Gary, Linda & Karen, 2004).


A study of drug use and effects on a juvenile has been applied widely in daily life, and there are numerous applications in practical settings. These applications are as a result of the consequences and lessons learnt in the field and the way to improve the overall field dealing with drug use and delinquency(Homel, 2004). Some of the applications have been made in the area of the family in parenting and mentoring of youths, treatment of child abuse and domestic violence and the education systems.

Family Services- Parent Support and Mentoring

According to the studies carried out, living with parents is crucial in the overall growth of the young ones and the long run might help shape the behaviours of individuals and thus curb some of the negativities that might be adopted. Some of these negativities include drug use and their effects on Juvenile delinquency(Sallybanks and Wendy, 2003). It has been established that daily drug use and polydrug use is common among youths that are not living with their parents. The youths who had left their homes are mainly poly-drug users with their daily rates being slightly higher than those who are still at home(Paddock, 2005). Thus, those who left home had higher rates of drug abuse thus their offending levels could be related to their use of drugs. Therefore, the risk factors that made the juveniles leave home are some main contributors to their substance use and consequently delinquency.

Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Treatment

According to the bible, it is captured in 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19 that illicit drugs destroy the body and are highly condemned.

From time immemorial, there has been a strong connection between juvenile delinquency and abuse and neglected of children in their early years. The study of juvenile delinquency unearths how abusive backgrounds of affected individuals might have occurred(Paddock, 2005).  Owing to the memories and psychological impacts that individuals suffer from after neglect, there resort to using drugs and in most cases end up abusing them (Holloway, Bennett & David, 2005). The abuse arises when the use of the drugs become habitual, and people resort to seeking illegal means of funding their habits and thus ending up in with the wayward behaviours.

At times, the neglect of these individuals might have occurred as a result of the adolescents nurturing the violent behaviours that they see at home(Heck, 2006).  Additionally, with low supervision of young people, there are high chances of an increase in delinquent behaviour. Those who are known to have neglected or abused the youths included parents or guardians, siblings and strangers. However, parents are top on the list for having neglected the youths at some time and at the same time responsible for the majority of violent and emotional abuses(Holloway, Bennett & David, 2005).

Education systems

With the increasing effects of drug use by adolescents, it is with no doubt that it would be a key area of study in our education systems. The school curricula and activities have incorporated different ways and means to address the effects of drug use on juvenile delinquency. The experiences and studies that adolescents acquire have lasting effects on the life of individuals. Through the education system, we get to learn some of the antisocial behaviours that might lead to juvenile delinquency. For instance, individuals who are taking part in sporting activities are not commonly associated with antisocial behaviours. The risk factors of the drug use and the effects on juvenile delinquency can be established and include failures in the academic circle and low level of education, non-commitment to school, early school drop-out and frequent changing of schools. Early school drop-out gives the child time to spend alone thus they go unsupervised. At such times, the individuals become bored, and they are bound to peer-pressure which ultimately might lead them to criminal life and substance abuse(Marlowe, 2010). The reasons behind the school dropouts included truancy, suspension, or expulsion.  Other contributing factors that are identified include unstable family life, victimization by classmates and conduct disorders(US Department of Justice, 2001). Thus, the schooling history of individuals and their ability to get enlightened on issues of drug use affected their juvenile delinquency.

Assumptions, Recommendations and Policy

This section provides various assumptions, recommendations and policy issues concerning drug use and effects on juvenile delinquency. In this section, information from history and applications are integrated and in doing so, assumptions about the current and future state of juvenile justice are explored. The reason behind the assumptions and recommendations are provided.

Adolescent offenders demonstrate high rates of substance utilization and substance utilization disorders, which are related both with kept culpable and a more extensive scope of negative conclusions(Gary, Linda & Karen, 2004). Even though the justice framework ordinarily screens adolescent offenders for substance use disorders, new strategies are required to expand the utilization of institutionalized screening routines and to guarantee the screening happens early enough the whole time to permit adolescents to be occupied out of the justice framework into group-based projects when suitable. Drug courts are one guaranteeing model, yet they ought to make more prominent utilization of observationally accepted mediations and behaviour take after ups to measure longer-term results(Heck, 2006).

Even though the justice framework is a real wellspring of treatment referral for adolescent offenders, the unmet requirement for treatment stays considerable. To designate rare assets most adequately, new approaches must expand the accessibility of astounding, proof-based treatment focused on the subgroup of adolescent offenders with substance utilization disorders(Marlowe, 2010). The guaranteeing the yet blended achievement of current treatment methodologies highlights a few difficulties, including the requirement for better techniques for captivating adolescents and their families in treatment, the need to better address natural danger components and comorbid conditions, and the absence of information concerning social and sex customized mediations(Sallybanks and Wendy, 2003).

More research in these zones is vital before it is conceivable to backer any one specific treatment approach. For the present, the strategy ought to empower more extensive utilization of exactly accepted treatments and of “best practices” inside existing projects(Gary, Linda & Karen, 2004). Besides, considerable backslide rates point to a more prominent requirement for aftercare administrations and to the need to oversee substance use disorders as unending disorders described by backsliding and reduction(Homel, 2004). The lack of aftercare administrations and the absence of administration coordination point to the need to create administration framework displays that better integrate and direction various administrations for adolescent offenders, especially group based methodologies. In this way, the strategy ought to back the reconciliation, congruity, and financing of these administrations for energetic offenders both amid and after their justice framework inclusion.

Preventive variables that can diminish the danger for drug utilization incorporate a connection to social others; responsibility to objectives and dreams; and faith in and regard for laws and power(Heck, 2006). The vocation of youth drug prevention programs and the implementation of drug laws are only two significant lines of movement that are made to prevent adolescent drug utilization. Youth drug prevention projects are normally school-based and use essential prevention strategies intended to prevent adolescent drug launch (Sallybanks and Wendy, 2003). Drug prevention programs that have been demonstrated to have the most guarantee for preventing or postponing drug utilization incorporate those established on the social impact model.


There have been some trends among the youths observed in the use of drugs and their effects on juvenile delinquency. The emerging trends in the area have been covered, and they include the results noted from drug abuse, racial disparity and the rates of drug use. The history of the correlation between drug use and their effects on juvenile delinquency has provided an in-depth understanding of youth behaviour. Additionally, the paper explores the application of drug use and the effects on juvenile, and some of the areas identified include the use in education systems, treatment of child abuse and domestic violence and parenting. The paper winds by providing assumptions, recommendations and policy issues surrounding the use of drugs and the effects on juvenile delinquency where information from history and applications are integrated. The integration then forms a basis for assumptions about the current and future state of juvenile justice.


Gary M., Linda T, and Karen A.  (2004). “Detection and Prevalence of Substance Use among Juvenile Detainees.” OJJDP Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Retrieved from <www.ojp.usdoj.gov>  on September 8, 2014. Heck, C. (2006).

Local drug court research: Navigating performance measures and process evaluations. Alexandria, VA: National Drug Court Institute. Retrieved from <http://www.ndci.org/publications/publication-resources/monograph-series> on September 8, 2014. Holloway, K., Bennett, T. & David, F. (2005).

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