The Causal Connection Between Drug Use and Crime

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    One of the most influential accounts of the causal connection between drug use and crime was developed by Paul Goldstein in a tripartite conceptual framework that divided explanations of the connection into 'economic-compulsive', 'psychopharmacological' and 'systemic' (Goldstein 1985). The aim of this paper is to examine the validity of the taxonomy in explained drug-related crime across different crime types and to identify some of the mechanisms involved. This was done by interviewing drug-misusing offenders currently serving sentences of imprisonment in the United Kingdom about the role of drug use in their recent crimes. The paper concludes that Goldstein's taxonomy should be refined to take into account the wide range of factors that influence the connection between drug use and crime.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)513 - 531
    Number of pages18
    JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009


    • drugs
    • crime
    • causal
    • connection
    • drug-related crime
    • criminal behavior
    • drug abuse


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