Published: 30 May 2006
Drugs and crime in Ireland
Although the link between drug use, addiction and crime has been established by international and Irish research, identifying the precise causative connection between drugs and crime has been a primary preoccupation of many writers in this area. For the purpose of this Overview, we will review the available research evidence using four explanatory causal models: the psycho-pharmacological model (Section 6) which identifies the drugs-crime link as arising as a result of the intoxicating effect of the of the drugs themselves; the economic-compulsive model (Section 7) which assumes that drug users need to generate illicit income from crime to support their drug habit; the systemic model (Section 8) which explains drug-related crime as resulting from activities associated with the illegal drug market, and the common-cause model (Section 9) which suggests that there is no direct causal link between drugs and crime but that both drug use and offending behaviour are related to other factors, including socio-economic deprivation. The question as to the link between drugs and crime is of more than mere academic relevance. Different conceptions of the link determine the way in which society responds to drug users and also inform debates about drug legislation, crime prevention, drug treatment and law enforcement. The aim of this Overview is to review and analyse the available evidence on drugs and crime in Ireland so as to inform the development of effective responses which can contribute to the reduction of drug-related crime.