Alcoholism and drug addiction being forbidden by divine laws, their procurement gives rise to a number of crimes
Alcoholism and drug addiction may be conceptualized as a crime without victim, i.e., addict himself is the victim who becomes a prey of its misuse. This devastating melody is eroding the roosts of social, economic and cultural fabric of a Society. It gives rise to criminality and criminal behavior which eventually leads to social disorganization. Alcoholism and drug related offences being victimless crime; they fall in the category of public order crimes. Alcoholism and drug habituations have been prevalent in most societies over the ages because of their allegedly pleasurable and relaxing effects or as a means of relieving physical tensions, fatigue and as a stimulant to withstand adversities. Experience has shown that various preventive and punitive measures such as fine, imprisonment or detention for drunkenness and other disorderly behaviors have failed in eliminating this menace.
Alcoholism and drug addiction being forbidden by divine laws, their procurement gives rise to a number of crimes such as illicit spirit-distilling, smuggling of wine or intoxicating drugs, racketeering, drug trafficking underhand deals in transmission of alcohol and narcotics from one place to another and bribing the officials to escape arrest and punishment. Research studies have shown that alcohol is more contributory to criminality than other drugs, probably because its legal and common usage makes it readily available.
Besides alcoholism, drug-addiction is also closely interconnected with crime. Compulsion of narcotic makes every drug-addict a law-violator and crime records have shown that narcotic addicts often commit predatory crimes such as larceny, shop-lifting, stealing, burglary, robbery etc. The drug addicts generally lead a criminal life. It is often noticed that addicts of narcotic drugs mostly resort to theft to obtain money for procuring drugs. Most persons become delinquent after they have started use of narcotic drugs. Many violent offenders take narcotics drugs to get stimulation and courage to commit violent acts such as murder, rape, extortion etc, which they might not otherwise commit when not drugged. The menace of drug abuse is more common among the middle, upper-middle, and high economic class families. Urban areas seem to be more affected by this vice.
Main causes of Drug Addiction:
Alcoholics and drug addicts take to drinking or use of drugs for a variety of reasons, like; unemployment is an important factor contributing to drug and alcohol addiction especially among youths. The lack of parental care and control partly due to working situations of both spouses and disintegration of joint family system are also contributory factors to encourage this vice. Curiosity is perhaps the main reason behind starting substance use followed by peer pressure and depression and stress. Recent developments in pharmaceutical and medical sciences have provided scope for production of a variety of toxic synthetic substances; this has contributed substantially to drug-abuse and addiction. Hippie-culture also detracts youngsters to drug addiction and they start it as fun or enjoyment.
People often take drugs for relief from painful illness and ultimately get addicted to it. The lack of knowledge of child psychology and communication-gap between parents and young addicts are also contributory factors for drug-abuse and alcoholism. People often believe that use of drugs such as alcohol, opium, ganja, tobacco, gutka etc provides them added strength and vigor to withstand hard labor. It must be stated that drug abuse is not only a national problem but it has transgressed the national boundaries and has become an international problem. It has, therefore been realized in recent years that no country can deal with this problem of abuse of drugs without international co-operation and action. Timely counseling or referral for treatment may prevent children from falling victim to substance abuse. Law must be amended to form a very strict law because present laws like fine, imprisonment or detention for drunkenness and other disorderly behaviors have failed in eliminating this menace.
Government and other organizations must spread awareness and educating the people about the ill effects of alcoholism and substance abuse on the individual, the family and society at large. Society should support activities of non-governmental organizations, working in the areas of prevention of addiction and rehabilitation of addicts. Government must accelerate the struggle against the scourge of drugs and to adopt measures to strengthen international co-operation and multi-disciplinary approach to tackle the problem.
(Author is a President Kashmir Law Circle)