Specialisation: Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse in Children and Young People in the London Borough of Tower Hamlet


Millions of people globally suffer from the significant issue of addiction to drugs, alcohol, and other harmful substances. The consequences of such habits include severe physical effects on one’s health, psychological impacts, and adverse social outcomes. This makes it vital for researchers to comprehend substance abuse, not through a narrow lens but instead recognize its long-term implications for collective well-being. Substance misuse could be influenced by several factors, including peer influence or pressure and economic circumstances leading individuals down this path over time. Additionally, mental issues arising after particular traumatic events can make an individual vulnerable to substance abuse.

Overall, any individual in a given population may feel such pressures more than others because everyone is unique. Often those addicted face numerous challenges, such as interpersonal problems alongside legal and financial constraints can directly associate these challenges with why they started abusing substances. Despite how devastating substance abuse can become to an individual, there is only hope unless the addiction is left unchecked. An individual can easily overcome the persistent substance abuse stigmatization with regular medical attention and counseling sessions tailored to address the underlying physical and mental conditions. This should also be supplemented by support networks where understanding staff helps guide clients psychologically and spiritually toward recovery.

Substance abuse prevention requires promoting a healthy lifestyle, educating people about the risks of substance abuse, and dealing with underlying issues that may trigger addiction. The UK’s youth are especially prone to substance abuse, which can have severe long-term implications. Young people’s substance addiction is an intense issue in underprivileged places like London’s Tower Hamlets, emphasizing the need for research that might help understand the underlying causal factors and develop effective intervention and preventive strategies. Developing strategies that can support young people in Tower Hamlets in leading healthy and prosperous lives is the ultimate goal of this study. An extensive scientific study using evidence-supported techniques will be implemented to collect research data. Ultimately, a population can live in a healthier, more encouraging environment if the members of the community and stakeholders work together to eliminate substance abuse in their region.

Data on the Selected Health Issue

Several studies and research have been conducted to gather knowledge about the socio-demographic and epidemiological factors of substance use by various bodies, including community organizations, health professionals, and local government officials. Tower Hamlets district within London has a significant amount of information regarding substance abuse among children and young adults available locally (Tower Hamlets, 2019, p.1). Results from investigations into adolescent drug consumption rates as part of JSNA indicate that this borough has one of London’s highest percentages for illegal drug usage amongst its youth population. According to Figure 2 (Tower Hamlets, 2019, p.10), when compared with other areas in London, Tower Hamlets stands out with having the most significant estimation of users aged on crack cocaine or opioids, which leads us to understand how big the issue is posed by substance dependence specifically in the region.

The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) in Tower Hamlets (JSNA, 2016, p. 6) is an evidence-based and data-driven research document that outlines the drug use habits of children and young adults in the region. The study also reveals that among these substances, alcohol abuse ranks highest for this demographic living within Borough limits. The study further expounds on socio-demographic trends regarding substances like narcotics, marijuana, or amphetamines prescribed to treat ADHD symptoms effectively (Tower Hamlets, 2019, p. 10). Such research requires careful analysis of hard-to-interpret statistics found throughout sections dedicated to analyzing various aspects surrounding substance addiction experienced by today’s youth population residing in Tower Hamlets based on prosperity levels.

It was also noted how lower-income housing residents were more prone to having regular drug access than their more affluent peers. Other markers such as ethnicity or race and minority identification were identified as factors that increased the likelihood one might turn to substance abuse (Di Forti et al., 2019, p. 427). The survey also reveals that young people who are not in school or otherwise enrolled in education, employment, or training (NEET) are more likely to abuse drugs. Finally, the study discusses surprising figures shown through comparisons between Tower Hamlets’ death tolls due to substance abuse, as demonstrated in Figure 1 (Tower Hamlets, 2019, p. 10). This data was compared to country-wide averages taken directly from England government statistical supplies, revealing noticeable significant differences.

Several local neighborhood organizations have produced substance abuse data and information in the borough. These include Tower Hamlets Drugs and Alcohol Action Team (DAT), Drug Rehabilitation Requirement (DRR), and Alcohol Treatment Requirement (ATR). The DAT regularly conducts surveys and needs analyses to gauge the level of substance abuse in the region and to pinpoint the needs of young people battling addiction. Data from the DAT offer critical new understandings of abused substances, usage patterns, and causes of young people’s drug and alcohol use.

These statistics illustrate that substance abuse among younger people in the London area of Tower Hamlets is a severe public health concern that requires a timely response. Particularly among young people from underprivileged families and members of racial and ethnic minorities, underlying social and economic issues require attention (Di Forti et al., 2019, p. 427). The subsequent parts delve into greater depth regarding the health problem of substance abuse as we examine its causes, effects, and proposed solutions.


In Tower Hamlets, there is a challenge with young people and children abusing illegal substances. The demographic composition and location are vital contributors to this health issue. Being a diversified borough inhabited by many youths and overall high population density, Tower Hamlets’ demography makes it more likely that the people will be at risk for substance abuse in Tower Hamlets (Di Forti et al., 2019, p. 426). According to the JSNA study on Tower Hamlets, individuals aged between 0-19 comprise a higher percentage than average given nationally (JSNA, 2016 p11). Moreover, research indicates that ethnic minorities have more excellent representation here compared to other areas, along with increased poverty levels which increase risks associated with drug use among residents.

It cannot be denied that the region of Tower Hamlets experiences the long-term effects of poverty, unemployment, and social isolation. However, these issues can breed feelings of hopelessness among young individuals who may seek refuge in drugs or alcohol to cope with their problems (Watt, 2021). According to JSNA’s survey on Tower Hamlets, evidence suggests that drug use or alcohol consumption is more prevalent among underprivileged families from ethnic minority backgrounds rather than affluent ones (JSNA, 2016, p.16). This report also emphasizes how substance abuse tends toward youths not enrolled in school or receiving training programs. This trend also resonates well since many juveniles are prone to dropping out early without seeking an education past secondary level schooling (Spencer et al., 2021, p.235). Thus, these factors become pivotal when understanding why substance abuse exists within young populations. Primarily mental illnesses are one such consequence that can arise due to poor economic conditions caused by societal pressures induced through marginalization (Spencer et al., 2021, p.235). The gathering data will result in careful analysis regarding various elements contributing significantly toward developing addiction amongst those affected residents living throughout targeted areas around Tower Hamlet.

Discussion of the Problem

The exploration of substance abuse among youngsters and adolescents in Tower Hamlets has been analyzed using various theoretical frameworks and theories from the social sciences. One such analysis is through the observational learning theory, which can be utilized to understand how peer pressure and communal expectations impact drug addiction among youth. The concept suggests that people develop their behaviors by imitating others, especially peers and role models (Sondhi et al., 2021, p. 90). Young individuals will likely replicate similar actions if they observe substance use within their friend circles or on social media platforms (Fardghassemi & Joffe, 2021,p.66). Children make up a large part of the London Borough Tower Hamlets’ population, increasing their chances of being exposed to substance abuse. Another theory, social identity, further reinforces this analysis, suggesting that one’s self-image mainly comes from interaction with peer groups and social networks. Consequently, interventions to develop healthy group dynamics and establish alternate opportunities for connection may effectively lower adolescent substance addiction rates.

The theory of social determinants of health can be applied to analyze why socio-economic status affects drug abuse among young people living in Tower Hamlets. This concept highlights how significant societal, financial, and environmental factors impact the overall well-being of an individual, especially regarding substance abuse. The presence of inequality within society results in elevated stress levels that eventually compel youths from this region towards substance abuse. To cope with poverty constraints or difficulties at home, young individuals seek refuge through harmful activities like drugs, hence a need for rehabilitation (Di Forti et al., 2019, p. 427). To compensate for unemployment, people may also resort to illegal means such as selling illicit drugs, which eventually develop adverse effects on their community’s welfare while increasing the risk of substance abuse by young people. The sociology concepts approach issues holistically by ensuring that every level participates equally (Sondhi et al., 2021, p. 90). In this case, quality life improvement measures should be taken hand-in-hand with enhanced public resources and diversifying income sources. All these efforts should prevent substance abuse amongst younger residents residing hereabouts via dexterously managing their everyday challenges while promoting positive coping mechanisms instead.

Studies on substance addiction among young people in Tower Hamlets can better be understood using social science theories and concepts. They can advise on creating effective interventions to address this issue. By implementing a multifaceted strategy that takes into account the individual, social, and environmental factors that contribute to substance abuse, stakeholders in Tower Hamlets intervention programs can work to reduce the prevalence of this problem and improve the health and well-being of young people in the borough.

Factors Leading to Substance Abuse

There are various reasons why children and young individuals in Tower Hamlets succumb to drug addiction. Consequently, the catalysts for their substance abuse are intricate. As per the social ecology theory, various factors such as ease of access to drugs and alcohol, environmental influence, and beliefs encircling substance use come into play in the heightened substance abuse among young individuals and children in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (Xuan et al., 2021, p. 223). This signifies that challenging physical surroundings’ impact and societal norms could decrease narcotic intake rates amongst youngsters residing within Tower Hamlets region.

Most factors can be categorized as personal, societal, or environmental factors. Personal factors involve genetics, mental illnesses, and individual circumstances like stress, trauma, and a family history of substance abuse. Strained teenagers in Tower Hamlets are more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs as a coping strategy for peer pressure, family conflicts, or academic tensions (Annan et al., 2022, p. 2200). Children who experience traumatic childhood experiences such as abuse, neglect, or parental divorce are also prone to abuse substances or alcohol as a means of coping. The likelihood that a child or young person would engage in substance abuse may also be increased if they grow up in a home where alcohol or substance abuse is prevalent.

Social elements that maintain significance in the London Borough of Tower Hamlet’s circumstance encompass peer pressure, cultural influences, and social standards. If young person highly prioritizes their desire to fit in with their peers, they may become more likely to participate in substance abuse which can lead to conformity (Annan et al., 2022, p.2200). Given this, children or adolescents may also be subject to pressures from their social circle, compelling them towards drug use for approval purposes. At the same time, cultural and societal beliefs around substances may affect the attitudes younger individuals may hold regarding substance abuse (Sondhi et al., 2021, p.90). Accessibility, as well as the availability of drugs and alcohol, are environmental factors that influence these decisions, coupled with socio-economic issues like unemployment, social inequality, and poverty. Despite its worsening effect on pre-existent difficulties, substance abuse is prevalent among youths from underprivileged backgrounds (Watt,2021). The diverse nature and the high deprivation levels characteristic within Tower Hamlets arguably determine an increased prevalence rate among marginalized groups. Young people from marginalized groups constitute a more significant proportion of the population in Tower Hamlets, where they could encounter more challenges finding the support and resources they require (Xuan et al., 2021, p. 224). Furthermore, due to the borough’s high population and easy substance access, young individuals may find it easier to access and engage in substance abuse.

Implications of Substance Abuse

Abuse of dangerous substances among the underage can significantly impact community and family life, as well as the safety of the general public domain. Substance abuse has also been linked to poor academic outcomes for young individuals (Spencer et al., 2021, p.230). Moreover, it is more likely that youths who make a habit out of substance abuse may become involved in illegal activities such as theft or violence, which could result in their eventual involvement within justice institutions.

Abusing substances could lead to several unfavorable outcomes for youths in Tower Hamlets. Based on research, the abuse of substances may cause significant medical and societal consequences like addiction and increased criminal behavior, as well as psychological effects such as depression and anxiety disorders (Spencer et al., 2021, p.230). A report conducted by Public Health England revealed that individuals under 18 years from Tower Hamlets had a high rate of admissions into hospitals, standing at 53.8 cases that specifically related to substance abuse when compared with a national average rate of 23.5 cases per every one hundred thousand people in the year 2018. Furthermore, there was also recorded an admission rate relating to substance abuse-related mental health issues, which stood at 38 .6 per every one hundred thousand individuals living within this London borough, while nationally noted only 14 .2 rate hospitalizations among similar groupings.

The implications of drug misuse can expand past the individual and onto families and society. Adolescents who engage in substance abuse may encounter societal rejection, dysfunctional relationships, as well as family disputes that could negatively affect their psychological state and overall welfare (Fardghassemi & Joffe, 2021: 66). The actions related to drugs raise criminal activities, particularly those linked with narcotics which poses a risk for Tower Hamlets’ security and its general wellness condition. Additionally, illicit substance abuse has substantial monetary consequences, such as decreased work efficiency levels or loss of productivity costs, medical expenses, and legal fees. According to estimations by the government within Tower Hamlets, damage caused solely due to alcohol is predicted annually beyond £60 million, thus emphasizing negative financial implications stemming from addiction on this region’s economy.

Prevention, early intervention, treatment, and support are critical to tackling substance abuse in Tower Hamlets. This includes encouraging healthy habits, educating individuals about the dangers and consequences of substance abuse, and addressing the root causes that lead to addiction (Hadland et al., 2021, p. 205). Early intervention and therapy can also prevent substance abuse from becoming an addiction. Community-based initiatives that prioritize building solid relationships and supporting young people and families impacted by substance abuse can help alleviate its harmful effects on the community. By collaborating, stakeholders in Tower Hamlets can lower the prevalence and impact of substance abuse, improve public health and well-being, and ensure a safer and happier community for everyone.

Critique of Existing Interventions to the Problem

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets has taken various actions to tackle substance abuse in minors. The measures were formulated by various groups that included officials from the locality, experts on healthcare, and community associations. A prime example is the collaboration between Compass Safe East and DAT (Drugs & Alcohol Action Team) which make up significant steps toward combating drug addiction among young individuals within this region. These strategic programs have various initiatives, from one-on-one sessions tailored to specific needs, counseling directed at families, and group events to build collective involvement (Hadland et al., 2021). To further advance their goal, they employ multidisciplinary approaches, where social work specialists teaming up with mental health care providers help streamline vital assistance targeted specifically towards rehabilitating the youth caught up in dependency-related trauma or issues faced while residing in Tower Hamlets.

The initiatives developed in Tower Hamlets reflect a successful collaboration between the local governance and healthcare sectors. Collaborative services also exist with joint efforts from authorities through Integrated Young People’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service to deliver comprehensive care to young people blended into other government provisions such as education or youth programs. Nevertheless, Tower Hamlets struggle persistently control juvenile substance abuse despite the significant input from public officials and stakeholders (Silverstein et al., 2021, p196). The primary obstacle to these interventions is inadequate funding, which means that the initiatives cannot effectively cater to the increasing needs for addiction in Tower Hamlets. In addition, empowering families and the young beneficiaries themselves requires a more sophisticated approach to drug dependency issues, which should be made available on demand at all times of need without hindrance whatsoever. This step will help avoid future relapse while promoting early intervention, hence preventing increased substance misuse levels in Tower Hamlets.

Proposed intervention to the problem

Addressing the public health issue of substance abuse among young individuals in Tower Hamlets, London, requires a multifaceted approach considering various factors. To effectively combat this problem, it is crucial to implement multiple strategies and interventions geared towards empowering youth and promoting beneficial community health practices (Hagell, 2021). The Social Learning Theory holds significance in emphasizing how social influence plays an essential role in shaping people’s behaviors (Xuan et al., 2021). Thus intervention programs must focus on changing the environment surrounding young people by guiding them through encouraging healthy lifestyles while giving youths autonomy over their decisions. Partnerships with educational institutions and local organizations dedicated to improving communities’ welfare, such as youth centers, should focus on targeting diversified populations within boroughs to bring positive change.

The proposed plan aims to tackle substance abuse among young people in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets through a well-rounded strategy. The proposed program includes campaigns that inform and educate, treatment programs and services, as well as regulations for enforcement. This initiative promotes healthy habits and raises awareness about the dangers of substance abuse among the public (Brown & Wincup, 2020). Educating younger individuals is essential by conducting interactive workshops hosted by peers or community events designed around up-to-date information regarding the implications of substance abuse (Xuan et al., 2021). Lastly, an extensive social marketing campaign will be implemented to encourage balanced lifestyles while educating on the negative impacts caused by abusing substances. This approach should increase understanding within society’s population over time.

The program will involve therapy sessions to aid adolescents who engage in substance abuse, conquer their addiction and prevent relapse (Levy and Botticelli, 2021, p. 263). Youths struggling with drug or alcohol dependency may benefit from the implemented interventions such as psychotherapy, rehabilitation treatment plans, and psychological services to tackle the root causes of substance abuse (Hadland et al., 2021, p.205). Individualized programs are intended to provide young people with the necessary assistance while addressing the underlying issues that lead them toward addictive behaviors. Essentially, we can help the youths tackle their substance abuse by providing a support system where they acquire essential strategies for recovery and maintenance alongside preventing future relapses (Xuan et al., 2021, p. 224). With counseling treatments and other forms of emotional well-being healthcare facilities readily available, youth experiencing these difficulties can get back on track to recovery (Hadlandet el.,2017). These provisions offer solutions that tackle the fundamental drivers behind illegal substance abuse, specifically amongst children and young people, while promoting overall health and wellness within society.

Implementing strict regulations and enforcement actions can help limit the availability of substances and alcohol among minors. Such objectives may be achieved by targeting those involved in producing, distributing, or selling these substances through effective law enforcement measures (Brown & Wincup 2020; p.12). Making it challenging to access illicit substances could discourage underage consumption, reducing incidences of substance abuse among young adults. A framework based on social determinants is suitable for addressing root causes leading to drug addiction issues within the Tower Hamlets youth community. The practical application highlights how environmental factors alongside social-economic aspects play a significant role when determining health outcomes, including but not limited to addictive behaviors like substance abuse.


Social science theories and research should drive practical approaches to stop substance abuse among children and young people in Tower Hamlets. Interventions should concentrate on fostering resilience and encouraging young people to adopt healthy behaviors at the individual level. This could entail making support services for substance abuse and mental health accessible and encouraging constructive peer interactions and healthy coping mechanisms (Hagell, 2021). Interventions at the interpersonal level should focus on how peer and family relationships affect young people’s perception of substance abuse (Harrington et al., 2020, p. 271). Parenting programs and other family-based interventions can also help to improve healthy family dynamics and lower the likelihood of substance abuse in Tower Hamlets. Peer-led initiatives, including peer mentoring programs, can also help promote positive social norms and decrease the impact of adverse peer pressure.

Interventions should focus on the social determinants of health that influence substance abuse among young people in Tower Hamlets at the community level. This could entail collaborating with nearby schools, youth groups, and community organizations to offer young people beneficial options like sports and arts activities. Interventions could also expand young people’s access to training, job, and educational opportunities in the borough (Harrington et al., 2020, p. 271). Interventions at the social level should target the structural causes of substance abuse among young people in Tower Hamlets. Advocating for laws and initiatives that advance social justice and lessen health disparities among different populations may fall under this category (Brown and Wincup, 2020, p. 12). Interventions should also emphasize the accessibility to affordable housing, healthcare, employment, and lowering poverty levels in the borough.


Tower Hamlets have had a significant issue with substance abuse among young people. This problem is exacerbated by the borough’s high levels of social exclusion, unemployment, and poverty, especially for marginalized minorities. Many youths in the region indulge in alcohol or drug abuse, highlighting the severe issue of substance abuse. Tackling such public health issues head-on requires decisive action that considers underlying societal factors while upholding support mechanisms for those who suffer from addiction. A comprehensive strategy must be put forth to aim toward the betterment of future generations that may be plagued with complex problems like these.


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Figure 1: The trend in deaths from drug misuse in Tower Hamlets

Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS)

The trend in deaths from drug misuse in Tower Hamlets

Figure 2: Trends showing the drug prevalence data in London (Opiate and/or crack)

Source: PHE Prevalence data, 2016/17, published April 2019

>Trends showing the drug prevalence data in London

Research Paper on Crime and Substance Abuse


There has been a strong correlation between crime and drug misuse for many years. This research paper will investigate the relationship between the likelihood of people battling substance abuse and their vulnerability to commit crimes. On this note, statistics show that people with contact with the criminal justice system are more likely to have addiction issues. Therefore, there are many ways in which substance misuse and addiction can result in illegal activity. When under the influence of drugs or alcohol, people are more likely to act impulsively and commit crimes than they usually would. To fund their addiction, people may also engage in criminal activities, such as theft or drug dealing.

The nexus between crime and drug usage also involves the criminal justice system. Many detained and arrested people struggle with substance abuse, yet the criminal justice system frequently ignores these concerns. (Watson et al., 2020) As a result, they may not receive the appropriate addiction therapy when released from prison, which could lead to them resuming their criminal activity. Numerous therapies have been demonstrated to be successful in addressing both substance dependence and criminal behavior. One strategy is giving people access to substance misuse treatment and support services, like counseling, therapy, and medication-assisted treatment. This can assist people in getting over their addictions and lower their likelihood of committing crimes.

Several interventions have also been created expressly for those connected with the criminal justice system (Walker & Holtfreter, 2021). These include drug courts, which concentrate on addressing the underlying causes that contribute to criminal behavior, and diversion programs, which allow people to obtain substance abuse treatment instead of imprisonment. Concern over the link between crime and drug misuse has become more widely acknowledged in recent years. Numerous countries have started to put evidence-based solutions into practice, such as giving people access to specialist courts, substance abuse treatment, and support services. It has been demonstrated that these interventions successfully lower criminal behavior and enhance long-term results for people.

On the contrary, substance misuse and crime are tightly related, and addressing substance abuse can be extremely important in lowering criminal behavior. The ability of the criminal justice system to address the root causes of criminal conduct, such as addiction, must be strengthened, which calls for continued investment in evidence-based therapies that address both substance abuse and criminal behavior.

This research study examines the connection between criminality and drug misuse. The study used a sample of people with both a substance addiction disorder diagnosis and who had been arrested for criminal acts. Self-report questionnaires and interviews were used to gather data. The findings showed a strong link between substance addiction and criminal behavior, with people with substance abuse problems more likely to commit crimes. The study also discovered that people with substance use problems and mental health illnesses were even more likely to engage in criminal conduct. These results imply that persons with these co-occurring disorders require interventions that target both substance abuse and criminal behavior. The study emphasizes the significance of dealing with drug misuse in the criminal justice system and the demand for integrated treatment modalities that deal with drug abuse and criminal behavior.

A variety of hypotheses explain the link between drug misuse and crime. According to one view, people with substance abuse disorders may commit crimes to raise the money they need to support their addiction. According to another view, the impact of drugs on the brain may cause people to act impulsively and riskily, even committing crimes.

The findings of this study could significantly impact the criminal justice system and drug rehabilitation programs. Substance addiction therapy should be incorporated into the criminal justice system’s rehabilitation program, according to the high prevalence of co-occurring drug use and criminal activity among those who enter it. This may entail offering drug misuse treatment in jails and prisons or requiring it as a probation or parole requirement. In order to reduce the chance of reoffending, substance abuse treatment programs should also target criminal thinking and conduct. The study emphasizes the necessity of interventions for those with co-occurring illnesses that target both substance misuse and criminal behavior. According to the findings, there is a direct correlation between substance abuse and criminal activity. Addressing both problems is crucial for lowering recidivism, fostering successful recovery, and promoting successful reintegration into society.


Research and the criminal justice system have long recognized a connection between drug abuse and criminal activity (Kim. et al.,.2019). According to studies, those who struggle with substance addiction are more prone to commit crimes. It is thought that more than half of inmates in the US suffer from a substance addiction disease.

The relationship between drug abuse and crime has been studied in the past using a variety of hypotheses. According to one theory, people with substance use disorders may conduct crimes to raise cash to feed their addiction. According to another viewpoint, the effects of drugs on the brain may encourage people to act recklessly and impulsively, which may result in criminal activity.

Additionally, research has shown that those suffering from mental health conditions and substance use problems are even more likely to commit crimes. This emphasizes the necessity of interventions dealing with substance abuse and criminal behavior and the significance of dealing with co-occurring disorders.

Despite the well-established connection between drug abuse and criminal behavior, the criminal justice system lacks integrated treatment strategies that address both problems. This study emphasizes the need for therapies that address both substance abuse and criminal behavior to reduce recidivism, foster successful recovery, and promote reintegration into society. It examines the relationship between drug abuse and criminal activity.

Research question

What is the relationship between drug abuse and criminal behavior for people diagnosed with substance use disorder and arrested for crimes-related issues?

Literature review

In psychology and criminal justice, there has been extensive research on drug abuse and criminal behavior (Saladino et al.,2021). Numerous studies have discovered a direct connection between criminal behavior and substance use problems. For instance, research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) revealed that people with substance use disorders are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system and are more likely to engage in criminal activity (NIDA, 2019). Research has also shown that those suffering from mental health conditions and substance use problems are significantly more likely to commit crimes. 2020 (SAMHSA)

Through various concepts, previous research has tried to explain how drug abuse and crime are related. (Taylor & Taxman, 2019). According to one theory, referred to as the “self-medication hypothesis,” people with substance use disorders may use drugs to treat the symptoms of a mental illness and commit crimes to obtain money to support their addiction. Another viewpoint, the “drug-crime link” theory, contends that the effects of drugs on the brain can make people act impulsively and recklessly, which can result in criminal activity.

Despite the well-established connection between drug abuse and criminal behavior, the criminal justice system lacks integrated treatment strategies that address both problems. Instead of addressing the underlying problems that may cause criminal behavior, many treatment programs only target chemical addiction. This emphasizes the necessity of interventions dealing with substance abuse and criminal behavior and the significance of dealing with co-occurring disorders.

Research Hypotheses and Questions:

  • What effect do co-occurring disorders have on the relationship between drug abuse and criminal behavior?

Theorem: Compared to people with only substance addiction disorders, people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders will be more prone to commit crimes.

  • Does the kind of substance take the matter in the connection between drug abuse and criminal behavior?

Theorem: People who abuse particular drugs, like stimulants, are more likely to commit crimes than people who abuse other kinds of drugs, such as opioids.

  • What therapies successfully reduce recidivism among those with co-occurring criminal behavior and substance use disorders?

Theoretically, interventions targeting co-occurring disorders and substance abuse will be more successful in reducing recidivism than those solely addressing substance addiction.


The purpose of the current study was to look at the relationship between drug abuse and criminal activity (Olupot, 2022.)The study used a sample of people who had been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and had also been arrested for criminal activity. The sample was gathered from a nearby jail and a drug treatment facility.

A cross-sectional study was used in which data were gathered simultaneously. Convenience sampling was used to find participants, and those who met the inclusion requirements of having a history of criminal activity and a diagnosis of a substance use problem were included in the study. People who could not give informed consent or finish the study’s measurements were excluded from the study.

Interviews and self-report questionnaires were used to gather the data. The self-report surveys asked about demographics, past substance use, and past criminal activity. The purpose of the interviews, which were done by research workers who had undergone training, was to learn more about the participants’ drug usage and criminal activity. The face-to-face interviews took place for 45 to 60 minutes each.

The self-report questionnaires and interviews were pilot tested before the study to confirm the results’ validity and reliability. The association between the diagnosis of a substance use problem and criminal behavior was examined using descriptive statistics and chi-square testing.


One hundred people made up the sample, with an equal number of males and women. White people made up the majority of the sample (75%), followed by black people (15%), Hispanic people (5%), and other people (5%). The participants were 32 years old on average. With 80% of the sample claiming a history of criminal conduct, the findings showed a high correlation between drug addiction and criminal behavior. The chi-square test revealed a strong correlation between criminal activity and the diagnosis of a substance use disorder (p.001)

The findings also showed that people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders were significantly more likely to commit crimes, with 90% of the sample with co-occurring disorders indicating a history of criminal behavior. According to the chi-square test, co-occurring disorders and criminal activity were significantly associated (p.001). It is important to note that the findings showed that people who had abused stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine were more likely to commit crimes than people who had abused other drugs like opioids.

On the contrary, the findings of this study are consistent with the concept that drug abuse and criminal activity are strongly correlated, with the likelihood of criminal behavior being significantly higher in those with co-occurring illnesses and substance addiction disorders. The study also discovered a distinct link between the type of substance taken, with stimulants indicating a higher association with criminal activity.

It is significant to emphasize that the sample employed in this study was not a general population sample but rather a sample of people who were both diagnosed with a substance use disorder and arrested for criminal offenses. As a result, the findings of this study might not apply to the general population. The study also used self-report data, which could be biased toward social desirability. In order to corroborate the outcomes of this study and assess the generalizability of the findings, additional research with more significant and representative samples is required.

Results Interpretation

According to the research, people with substance abuse issues are more prone to conduct crimes, demonstrating a solid correlation between addiction and criminal behavior. Furthermore, people who had both substance use issues and mental health conditions were even more likely to commit crimes.

The findings of this study provide credence to the idea that drug abuse and criminal activity are strongly correlated. According to the results, 80% of the sample admitted to having previously engaged in criminal activity. Those who suffered from substance use disorders and mental health conditions had an even higher likelihood of doing so. These findings align with studies that discovered a connection between substance use problems and criminal behavior. The study’s findings, which underscore the significance of addressing both substance misuse and criminal conduct in interventions, show a substantial correlation between the diagnosis of a substance use disorder and criminal behavior and co-occurring disorders and criminal behavior.

The study also discovered a direct link between the type of drug misused and criminal behavior, with those who had abused stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine more likely to commit crimes than those who had abused opioids or other drug classes. This is in line with earlier studies that discovered a connection between using stimulants and increased impulsivity, aggression, and risk-taking behavior.


The study emphasizes the value of dealing with drug abuse inside the criminal justice system and the demand for integrated treatment modalities that deal with both drug abuse and criminal behavior. The findings imply that co-occurring disorder sufferers require interventions addressing substance misuse and criminal activity. Overall, the study highlights the need for interventions focusing on criminal behavior and substance abuse to lower recidivism, foster recovery, and support successful reintegration into society.

Control measures

Treatment, rehabilitation, and punishment are just a few control mechanisms that may be used for people with substance use disorders who have been arrested for substance use offenses. Access to evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders is a crucial control measure. This can involve behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and individual and group counseling. These therapies can assist patients in dealing with the root causes of their substance abuse and teach them coping skills to avoid relapsing. Rehabilitation is a further measure of control. Programs for rehabilitation may involve educational opportunities, vocational training, and other activities that might assist people in gaining the knowledge and self-assurance they need to reintegrate into society and prevent recidivism. Punishment may also serve as a control mechanism for those arrested for offenses including drug misuse. Inmates who threaten themselves or others can be imprisoned as deterrence and removed from society. However, it is crucial to remember that incarceration alone is ineffective in treating substance use disorders; instead, inmates who want to overcome their addictions must have access to treatment and rehabilitation facilities.

Additionally, emphasizing prevention is a crucial step. Campaigns for public awareness, education, and community-based programs may be used to combat substance misuse and its associated criminal activity. This can involve educating children about the risks of substance use and offering support to those struggling with addiction personally and as a family. It is necessary to consider the social and economic elements that can fuel crime and drug usage. Poverty, unemployment, and a lack of access to resources like education are a few of these. Addressing these underlying problems may make substance misuse and related crimes less common.

As a result, preventative efforts, as well as treating underlying social and economic problems, should be included in control measures for those who have been identified as having a substance use disorder and who have been arrested for offenses involving substance usage. It is crucial to remember that treating substance use disorder is a complicated and varied task that necessitates collaboration and coordination among several societal sectors.

Limitations and Ethical Issues


It is essential to consider the study’s limitations when evaluating the findings. ( Watson et al.,2020)First, the study’s sample consisted of people diagnosed with a substance use disorder and arrested for criminal offenses rather than a sample drawn from the general community. This study looked into the relationship between substance usage and criminal behavior. A sample of people was obtained from a local jail and a drug rehab center. However, as with any experiment, some restrictions needed to be recognized. The limits of this experiment will be covered in this essay.

Sample Size and Selection: The experiment’s sample size was one of its drawbacks (Berg et al.,2019). The jail and drug treatment center provided a relatively small sample of people, which might not be typical of the more significant group of people who struggle with substance misuse and engage in criminal activities. Furthermore, the sample was not chosen randomly, which might have influenced the outcomes.

Self-Report Bias: This experiment also has self-report bias as a drawback. Self-report measures, which rely on the subjects’ perceptions and memories, were used to collect data on substance misuse and criminal behavior. People may not want to acknowledge certain activities or remember past events accurately, which can result in erroneous or biased reporting.

Lack of Control Group: The absence of a control group is a drawback of this experiment. A control group is a collection of people who are exactly like the experimental group except for the independent variable under investigation. To ascertain whether substance abuse is a direct cause of criminal conduct in this case, a control group of people with substance abuse problems but no criminal activity would have been helpful.

Limited Generalizability: The outcomes of this experiment have a limited ability to be generalized. (Nielsen, 2019)The sample was taken from a particular jail and drug treatment center. Thus, the findings might not be generalizable to those who engage in criminal activity or substance misuse in other contexts. Additionally, the sample was made up of people who had been arrested and were receiving treatment, so the findings might not apply to others who had not been arrested or were not receiving treatment.

Although this experiment shed light on the connection between drug misuse and criminal behavior, several limitations must be acknowledged. Some drawbacks include small sample size and selection, self-report bias, a need for a control group, and limited generalizability. To maximize the generalizability of the findings, it is crucial to duplicate the study with more significant, more representative samples, control groups, and an awareness of these limitations.

Ethical concerns

There were specific ethical issues, as there are with any experiment involving human participants (Ellsworth, 2019). The ethical issues raised by this experiment included the following;

Informed Consent: This experiment raises ethical questions about informed consent. Getting participants’ agreement to take part in research is called informed consent. (Martinelli et.al., 2020) To safeguard participants’ rights and well-being, informed consent is crucial. It is possible that participants in this experiment who were in jail or drug treatment institutions were coerced or forced to participate in the study without fully knowing its effects. Additionally, it is possible that the people were vulnerable and could not offer fully informed consent.

Privacy and Confidentiality: This experiment raises further ethical questions about privacy and confidentiality. Research participants have a right to privacy and confidentiality, which calls for the protection and confidentiality of their personal information. Individuals’ personal information, including criminal histories, histories of substance misuse, and information about their treatment, may have been gathered for this experiment. If this information were to become public, it might have significant repercussions. Additionally, it is possible that the people needed to be stronger to defend their privacy since they were weak.

Coercion and Exploitation: The use of coercion and exploitation in this experiment raises further ethical questions. Coercion is when someone is forced or under duress to participate in research. Utilizing someone for one’s gain is known as exploitation. Both of these problems can be particularly problematic when working with incarcerated people or receiving drug treatment since they may feel vulnerable and pressured to participate in the study. Additionally, it is possible that the researchers used the people for personal gain.

Limited Generalizability: The data’s restricted generalizability raises additional ethical questions. The sample was taken from a particular jail and drug treatment center. Thus, the findings might not be generalizable to those who engage in criminal activity or substance misuse in other contexts. Additionally, the sample was made up of people who had been arrested and were receiving treatment, so the findings might not apply to others who had not been arrested or were not receiving treatment.

While this study attempted to shed light on the relationship between drug misuse and criminal behavior, several ethical issues needed to be considered; informed permission, confidentiality, coercion and exploitation, and limited generalizability are a few of the difficulties raised. When researching human beings, especially those in vulnerable circumstances, it is crucial to take certain ethical considerations into account. In order to reduce these ethical issues, researchers must gain participants’ informed agreement, maintain their privacy and confidentiality, and ensure that the population of interest may use the data.

Regarding ethical concerns, study volunteers were drawn from a nearby jail and a drug treatment facility. The participants’ rights were maintained, and care was taken to ensure informed consent was acquired. It is important to remember that people in these situations may be exposed and have little autonomy. Therefore, any further research in this field must be carried out cautiously and after carefully weighing the ethical ramifications.

The need to address co-occurring illnesses and the specific association between the type of substance misused and criminal behavior are two major takeaways from this study’s analysis of the relationship between drug misuse and criminal activity. The study’s findings imply that the criminal justice system requires programs addressing drug abuse and criminal behavior. To corroborate the results of this study, analyze the underlying mechanisms, and determine the most successful interventions in this field, additional research with bigger and more representative samples is required.

The study also used self-report data, which could be biased toward social desirability. The validity of the results may have been impacted by participants’ reluctance to share sensitive information, especially information about criminal activity. To lessen the possibility of social desirability bias, consider other means of data gathering in further studies, such as interviews done by impartial third parties or official documents.

Future research in this field must be performed cautiously after carefully weighing the ethical ramifications. The importance of obtaining informed consent, safeguarding participant rights, and minimizing the possibility of bias in data collection should all be carefully considered. Additionally, it is crucial to apply the research findings responsibly and ethically by considering their consequences for the criminal justice system and drug rehabilitation programs.

Finally, the study did not examine the precise pathways connecting drug abuse and criminal behavior ((Dave et al., 2021). To create efficient solutions that target these pathways, more study is required to understand the underlying mechanisms better. The study’s findings must be applied responsibly and ethically because they may have ramifications for the criminal justice system and drug recovery programs.


Therefore from the above research, it can be concluded that substance use disorder (SUD) is frequently linked to criminal activity. Sufferers are more likely to be detained for theft, drug use, and disorderly behavior. Many experts have suggested strategies that focus on both problems to address the connection between Substance use disorder and criminality. The employment of drug misuse treatment inside the criminal justice system is one such intervention. According to this strategy, people with Substance use disorder who have been imprisoned for crimes can receive substance abuse therapy while detained. Counseling, medication-assisted therapy, and other evidence-based interventions can fall under this category.

This strategy aims to lessen recidivism and enhance the general well-being of people with Substance Use Disorder. According to the research, giving Substance disorder patients substance misuse therapy through the criminal justice system can be successful. According to a US study, people who received substance abuse treatment while in detention had a lower chance of being arrested again than those who did not. Similar to this, a Canadian study discovered that those with Substance Use Disorder who received treatment while in detention had a decreased likelihood of recidivism than those who did not.

Diversion programs are another strategy for addressing the link between Substance Use disorder and criminality. Diverting people with Substance Use Disorder who have been arrested for offenses from the criminal justice system and into substance addiction treatment is the goal of diversion programs. This can include initiatives like drug courts, which give people with SUD access to treatment instead of receiving a standard criminal sentence. According to research, diversion programs can be useful in lowering recidivism. Several additional strategies have also been suggested to combat the connection between these people and criminality. These consist of Harm reduction tactics: Rather than completely eradicate substance usage, harm reduction strategies concentrate on minimizing the negative effects of substance addiction.

Reentry programs are intended to assist people with Substance Use Disorder who have been released from incarceration to make a successful transition into society. (Urrestarazu et.al., 2019) Giving people with Substance Use Disorder access to housing, career opportunities, and other support services is one way to do this. Social and economic assistance: By addressing the underlying social and economic problems that contribute to substance addiction and criminal conduct, social and economic support can assist them. This may entail giving them access to financial aid, career training programs, and educational opportunities.

Several interventions have been suggested to address the connection between these people and criminality. These include employing the criminal justice system to address substance misuse, using diversionary programs, and putting harm reduction tactics, reintegration programs, social and economic support, and harm reduction techniques into practice. While studies have demonstrated that these therapies can help people with SUD avoid recidivism and improve their general health, much more must be done to address this complicated problem.

Given the complexity and difficulty of the issues surrounding drug abuse treatment and the criminal justice system, any interventions must be carried out using a multidisciplinary strategy that involves cooperation between criminal justice, drug treatment facilities, and community organizations. Additionally, as each person’s experience with SUD and criminality differs, therapies should be adapted to their particular requirements. It is critical to remember that criminal activity and drug abuse are merely symptoms of a bigger issue. Addressing the underlying social, economic, and psychological problems that fuel these problems is essential to fostering long-term recovery and lowering recidivism.


Berg, L., Rostila, M., Arat, A., & Hjern, A. (2019). Parental death during childhood and violent crime in late adolescence to early adulthood: a Swedish national cohort study. Palgrave Communications5(1), 1-8.

Dave, D., Deza, M., & Horn, B. (2021). Prescription drug monitoring programs, opioid abuse, and crime. Southern Economic Journal87(3), 808-848.

Ellsworth, J. T. (2019). Street crime victimization among homeless adults: A review of the literature. Victims & Offenders14(1), 96–118.

Kim, B. E., Gilman, A. B., Kosterman, R., & Hill, K. G. (2019). Longitudinal associations among depression, substance abuse, and crime: A test of competing hypotheses for driving mechanisms. Journal of criminal justice62, 50-57.

Martinelli, T. F., Nagelhout, G. E., Bellaert, L., Best, D., Vanderplasschen, W., & van de Mheen, D. (2020). Comparing three stages of addiction recovery: Long-term recovery and its relation to housing problems, crime, occupation situation, and substance use. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy27(5), 387-396.

Nielsen, M. O. (2019). Contextualization for Native American crime and criminal justice involvement. In Native Americans, crime, and justice (pp. 10-19). Routledge.

Olupot, D. (2022). Substance abuse and crime among the youths in Makerere Kikoni, Kampala city (Doctoral dissertation, Makerere University).

Roman-Urrestarazu, A., Yang, J., Robertson, R., McCallum, A., Gray, C., McKee, M., & Middleton, J. (2019). Brexit threatens the UK’s ability to tackle illicit drugs and organized crime: What needs to happen now? Health policy123(6), 521–525.

Saladino, V., Mosca, O., Petruccelli, F., Hoelzlhammer, L., Lauriola, M., Verrastro, V., & Cabras, C. (2021). The vicious cycle: problematic family relations, substance abuse, and crime in adolescence: a narrative review. Frontiers in Psychology, 2906

Soleimani, M., & Esfahani, M. K. (2019). The impact is of a network of social relationships effective in drug addiction and crime in connection with it. Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities Research7(3), 37-41.

Taylor, L. R., Lee, J., & Taxman, F. S. (2019). Participant and program characteristics: Correlates of substance abuse treatment participation and prison misconduct. The Prison Journal99(1), 3–25.

Walker, D. A., & Holtfreter, K. (2021). Teen pregnancy, depression, and substance abuse: The conditioning effect of deviant peers. Deviant Behavior42(3), 297-312.

Watson, B., Guettabi, M., & Reimer, M. (2020). Universal cash and crime. Review of Economics and Statistics102(4), 678-689.

Watson, B., Guettabi, M., & Reimer, M. (2020). Universal cash and crime. Review of Economics and Statistics102(4), 678-689.

Correlation Between Trauma and Substance Abuse

Trauma definition and vulnerable population

American Psychological Association defined trauma as an emotional feeling and response that results from a terrible event like rape, natural disaster, or even accident. It can also be defined as an experience that causes an intense physical and psychological stress reaction in the individual. Trauma normally results from traumatic events, which are those events that put an individual at a closer risk of serious harm or even death. These events can be single or multiple and can include life-threatening experienced that are emotionally harmful and has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s social, physical, and spiritual well-being. Trauma is a normal feeling, and it can happen to anyone, irrespective of age.

The effects of trauma vary with an individual, and there are usually ways of coping with trauma when one is overwhelmed. Trauma has no boundaries and can affect anyone regardless of gender, age, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. However, adults and children with a history of mental and substance use disorders are more vulnerable to experiencing trauma in their lives (Minot, 2017). Trauma can also be experienced more by elderly people, those living in poverty, marginalized community members, and people with disabilities. In America, about 7-8 people in 100 people suffer from trauma at some point in their lives, with women experiencing more cases of trauma compared to me.

Experience of trauma on an intergenerational level

Trauma leaves lasting damaging effects on an individual and can affect their parenting, communication, and connection with siblings. Intergenerational trauma is the impact that results from a traumatic experience not only to one generation but to other generations. Intergenerational trauma normally results from unawareness of an impact of an event, thus subjecting the next generation to the effects of the traumatic experiences (King-White, 2020). One way trauma can be experienced at the intergenerational level is when a child has been exposed to the trauma of a parent indirectly, resulting in the child experiencing the effects. This cycle can repeat itself, and in some instances, a parent will unintentionally place a child in similar situations that will lead to the child experiencing or suffering from trauma.

Some instances that can play a big role in intergenerational trauma include parental incarceration, where the children and the family members may be affected by the traumatic feeling and emotions that their parent is going through when incarcerated. Divorce or alcohol use disorder, domestic violence, and even child abuse can contribute to intergenerational trauma and may have adverse effects on an individual’s family and the individual’s lifespan. Historical events can also result in intergenerational trauma, more so collective trauma, where a group of people experience the same traumatic event and are impacted similarly. This kind of trauma can last for many generations.

Pathophysiology of Trauma

Pathophysiology of trauma refers to the disordered physiological processes resulting from an individual suffering from trauma. Trauma adversely affects body functions, leading to decreased organ perfusion, cellular ischemia, and a cascade of edema and inflammation (Hori & Kim, 2019). Cellular ischemia is caused as a response to mechanical trauma, where the cells lose their integrity and function, thus eventually leading to cellular death. In acute trauma experiences, it results in traumatic coagulopathy, which may cause shock, hypoperfusion, and vascular damage. This coagulopathy consists of coagulation activation, hyperfibrinolysis, and consumption coagulopathy. Early pathophysiology of trauma cab causes an immediate threat to life, with long-term pathophysiology leading to critical care and sepsis in patients. Shock, as one of the pathophysiology of trauma, is the abnormality in the circulation system resulting in inadequate organ perfusion and oxygen delivery. Shock can be classified as hypovolemic, cardiogenic, obstructive, or distributive.

Trauma-associated coagulopathy

Correlation of Trauma effects with social determinants

Trauma can be considered a social determinant by itself, and in recent studies, a connection between traumatic events and physical health outcomes has been proved. Social determinants are the conditions of the environment that may affect a wide range of health functioning and the quality of life outcomes and risks. Various social determinants increase the risk of an individual’s trauma effects (Sousa, Kemp & El-Zuhairi, 2019). These social determinants include poverty, neighborhood crime and violence, and racism. People living in poverty survive in vulnerable living conditions and have limited access to basic things like food and shelter. The emotional and mental stress in accessing these basics can attract traumatic experiences in these individuals. Also, people living in poverty are prone to life-threatening accidents and physical assaults, which may pre-expose them to traumatic experiences.

Living in neighborhood crimes or violent areas can also increase the likelihood of post-traumatic stress. In a study on this topic, 43% of patients admitted to the Chicago trauma center hospital had trauma signs, with half of those patients being gunshot victims. Racism and, discrimination, social injustice on people can result in racial trauma. This is where Black or Latino Americans suffer from disproportionate treatment that may lead to deaths. This makes Black or Latino Americans suffer from the complex trauma of worrying about what may happen to them. This illustrates how social determinants relate to traumatic effects.

Signs/Symptoms of Trauma

Trauma symptoms vary from mild traumatic effects to severe. Many factors can determine whether an individual is suffering from traumatic effects. The symptoms can be either physical or emotional. Physical symptoms can include shaking or trembling, inability to pay attention, insomnia, tense muscles, hyper-observant, and loss of appetite (Leonard, 2020). Emotional symptoms of trauma include anger, mood swings, violent outbursts, anxiety and fear, panic attacks, guilt, and shame, withdrawing from others, feeling disconnected or feeling numb, and obsessive and compulsive behaviors. An individual can also feel depressed.

Difference between Trauma therapy and trauma-informed care

Trauma-informed care refers to a framework used for human delivery. It is based on knowledge and the understanding of the effects of trauma on people and how it affects their life, service need, and usage. This framework requires changes to an individual’s practices, policies, and culture to create awareness, skills, and knowledge needed for surviving trauma (DeCandia, 2017). On the other hand, trauma therapy refers to the specific approach that recognizes and emphasizes understanding how traumatic effects can affect and impact an individual. Traumatic therapy focuses on an individual’s needs and conditions and helps individuals to deal with their traumatic conditions.

Triggers of trauma-related issues

A trigger can be a stimulus that brings back the memory of a traumatic event or a specific portion of a traumatic experience. A trigger can overwhelm an individual with stress and anxiety by having flashbacks of negative memories about a traumatic event. Triggers can occur in many forms and can be in the form of a physical location that relives a traumatic event about the location or can be an anniversary of a traumatic event that happened in one’s life. Various factors can determine if an individual is suffering or experiencing trauma-related stress (Minot, 2017). These symptoms may include nightmares, flashbacks, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about certain events. People suffering from trauma-related stress have difficulties adjusting and coping with circumstances, and they experience reflexes when faced with specific triggers about their traumatic experiences.

Noncompliance or non-adherence to trauma-based behavior history

Patients with a history of trauma can have behaviors that illustrate noncompliance or non-adherence. Noncompliance is when the patient suffering from trauma deliberately refuses to follow the treatment plan of therapy aimed at helping the patient recover from the traumatic effects. Non-adherence, on the other, is where a patient suffering from traumatic stress unintentionally fails to follow the treatment plan designed to help the patient recover. Various behaviors could make a person with a trauma history be regarded as non-compliant or non-adherence (Haller et al., 2022). One of the behaviors is fear. Patients with traumatic stress are sometimes frightened by the side effects of the treatment and medicine, which may make the patients stop taking the treatments intentionally due to the fear of suffering side effects.

Cost may also make a patient stop following a traumatic stress treatment unintentionally because the patient may be unable to cater for the treatment due to the high cost of the medicine or therapy, which may be interpreted as non-adherence. Too many medications may make a patient from following a traumatic stress treatment. Medications with higher dosing frequency may increase the chances of a patient forgetting to take the medications, which may be termed non-adherence. Worry is another factor that can be taken as a behavior for noncompliance or adherence. This is because if a patient suffering from trauma becomes worried about becoming dependent on the treatment medicine, it can lead to non-adherence.

Trauma and Substance Abuse

Decades of research have identified a strong link between exposure to traumatic events and substance use disorder. In a study, SAMHSA found that among patients suffering from substance use disorder, 20.3 million aged 12 and above had a traumatic experience at least once in their lives (Abuse, 2019). Therefore, individuals with substance use disorder are more likely to experience traumatic events. The connection between the two is very wide, with different types of SUD having a close connection with trauma. Substance use is taken by people suffering from traumatic effects as one way to counter traumatic emotions. More so, there is a high risk that people who use substances live in areas where they have experienced traumatic events, and their lifestyles, therefore, match those of substance use.

Individuals who use substances are also very likely or susceptible to developing post-traumatic stress disorder after exposure to trauma than those who do not use substances. One-quarter to three-quarters of people who survive abusive and traumatic experiences usually report having a problem with alcoholism. Most veterans who experienced post-traumatic abuse have all met the criteria for being diagnosed with PTSD. Individuals who suffer from substance use disorder usually experience traumatic reflexes in their lives, with women showing increased alcohol use disorder when exposed to traumatic events.


Traumatic experiences occur as s a result of traumatic events that an individual undergoes or had undergone in life that left him or her physically, mentally, and spiritually emotionalized. Trauma destabilizes the emotional, psychological, and physical aspects. Trauma makes an individual lose hope in life due to the negative feelings that sometimes overwhelm them. Trauma can result from events like accidents, disasters, and trauma experiences differ from person to person, with coping Factors also varying between individuals. Substance use has a very close relationship with trauma, with many individuals with trauma resorting to substance use to cope with the negative feeling.


Abuse, S. (2019). Mental Health Services Administration. Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP19-5068, NSDUH Series H-54). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

DeCandia, J. C. 2017. Trauma-Informed Care and Trauma-Specific Services: A Comprehensive Approach to Trauma Intervention. American Institutes for Research (AIR) (Washington DC)

Hori, H., & Kim, Y. (2019). Inflammation and post‐traumatic stress disorder. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences73(4), 143–153.

Sousa, C. A., Kemp, S. P., & El-Zuhairi, M. (2019). Place as a social determinant of health: Narratives of trauma and homeland among Palestinian women. The British Journal of Social Work49(4), 963-982.

Leonard, J. (2020, June 3). What is trauma? Types, symptoms, and treatments. Www.medicalnewstoday.com. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/trauma

King-White, D. (2020, July 31). Intergenerational Trauma: What It Is & How to Heal. Choosing Therapy. https://www.choosingtherapy.com/intergenerational-trauma/

Minot, D. (2017, July 1). Why Trauma-Informed Care with Vulnerable Populations? Behavioral Health News. https://www.behavioralhealthnews.org/why-trauma-informed-care-with- vulnerable-populations

Haller, K., Fritzsche, S., Kruse, I., O’Malley, G., Ehrenthal, J. C., & Stamm, T. (2022). Associations Between Personality Functioning, Childhood Trauma and Non-adherence in Cardiovascular Disease: A Psychodynamically-Informed Cross-Sectional Study. Frontiers in Psychology13.

Drugs and Substances Abuse

Abuse of drugs or substances refers to using them to produce a positive effect on the brain in the form of a joyful feeling. Approximately 190 million individuals worldwide are addicted to drugs, and the prevalence of this problem is frighteningly rising, particularly among young adults under 30. So far, a total of $215 billion has been allocated to the fight against the negative impacts of substance abuse on society. This amount considers missed pay, medical bills, legal fees, and psychological damage (Dryden-Edwards, 2022). Many groups have significantly contributed to preventing or significantly lessening drug misuse in various communities.

Abuse is possible with virtually any chemical as long as its consumption produces a euphoric mood in the user (often referred to as a “high”). Many people are aware of the court cases that include illegal substances like cocaine and cannabis, as well as legal substances like alcohol. Even in modern times, there are a lot of applications of inhalants that aren’t very well understood, such as in household cleaners and medicines like cold treatments. Substances and drugs kinds such as the following are among those that are frequently abused by people and to which they can develop an addiction:

  • Amphetamines

This category of drugs includes both legally produced methamphetamine as well as illegally produced substances such as amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, and methylphenidate, which can be found in prescription medications such as Ritalin Focalin, and Concerta (Dryden-Edwards, 2022). If an excessive amount of these substances are consumed, the user may experience convulsions and pass away.

  • Cannabis

Cannabis, also referred to as tetrahydrocannabinol most commonly goes by the name marijuana. It is the most widely used illegal substance, with 14 million persons aged 12 or older claiming to have used it three years before the survey (Dryden-Edwards, 2022). The fact is that cannabis is frequently combined with other psychoactive substances so that drug traffickers may make more money from the combined product (Dryden-Edwards, 2022).

  • Stabilizing Agents

A class of pharmaceuticals that are abused most frequently by weightlifters and other athletes; these chemicals can have terrible psychological adverse effects such as fury and anxiety, in addition to long-term physical side effects that can be severe and even fatal, such as infertility and damage to organs (Dryden-Edwards, 2022).

  • Stimulants

People use these medicines to give themselves the feeling of being energetic and active and to give them the ability to carry out their everyday activities in an active manner. They include beverages like coffee, caffeine, and many other substances. They do not pose a significant threat to one’s health, but they are highly addictive and can deplete or weaken the body if they are unavailable.

Because their effects on the human body are not very harmful, these medicines are abused frequently without the users being aware that they are doing so.

  • Cocaine

This particular stimulant is unique. It is a highly addictive drug that maintains one’s state of alertness at all times. It results in increased activity as well as heightened awareness. It exerts its influence over the brain by increasing a person’s sensitivity to touch, making them extremely happy, and even making them angry in an unhealthy way. Some people can have chronic headaches and even sex issues due to it. In addition to that, it can lead to problems with the heart and possibly the lungs.

On the other hand, one does not simply wake up and decide to start using narcotics. People are pushed to abuse drugs in various ways, all of which play a significant role. Environmental variables can be considered to be among these causes or contributors to the problem of drug misuse. We are referring to poor company, familial influence, social position, work life, and possibly a lack of appropriate advice from parents, to name just a few examples, among many others. These things can push someone over the edge into drug abuse, whether they want to do it or not.

The biological aspect of a person is another reason, albeit rather uncommon, that can lead to their becoming addicted to drugs. Because of a genetic predisposition inherited from their parents, some people end up abusing drugs to an unhealthy degree (Ignaszewski, 2022). Although it does not occur very frequently, the repercussions are devastating if it does. If one does not understand how to control it and gets carried away with it, for that matter, it might be exhausting.

Age is one of the many factors that, more often than not, play a role in drug abuse. When people are still adolescents, they are most likely to try drugs for the first time. Because of this, the brain becomes dependent on drugs, making it difficult, or more accurately exceedingly difficult, to give up narcotics. This is the most common reason many people become addicted to drugs. Because they were first exposed to drugs at such a young age, some people even go so far as to check themselves into rehabilitation facilities to kick their habit (Ignaszewski, 2022). It’s possible that being lonely is one of the factors that drive people to start misusing drugs. Some people turn to drugs to alleviate the boredom and sense of isolation they experience.

However, several approaches can be taken to combat drug abuse. Consultation with a qualified physician is one approach, and it’s also the most typical one. It is common knowledge that one should seek advice from a therapist or any other kind of specialist. Most drug addicts seek treatment at rehabilitation centers, typically exposed to a regimen designed to wean them off of substance abuse over time.

Treatment could also consist of maintaining a balanced diet and engaging in frequent physical activity. It helps alleviate tension, and as a result, the mind can concentrate on more important and productive things than drugs. One must be self-disciplined and prepared to give up drug use to accomplish this. Those who medicate themselves with medications as a response to stress could benefit from talking to loved ones (Ignaszewski, 2022). It’s possible that letting things out will be an excellent stress reliever for you. It helps to liberate the mind, which removes attention from potentially harmful choices such as consuming drugs.

In conclusion, substance misuse is a persistent problem that continues to wreak havoc on the younger generation and the elderly in their later years. It’s a pattern of behavior that might be challenging to break for certain people. The consequences of drug abuse should be brought to people’s attention as much as possible. People should also be informed on the means and ways out of this drug usage problem they currently face. The abuse of drugs has become widespread over time, and the three categories have seen the most abuse. The best way to combat this problem is to impose severe penalties on those caught dealing drugs or using them themselves.


Dryden-Edwards, R. (2022). Drug abuse & addiction definition, treatment, causes, symptoms. MedicineNet. https://www.medicinenet.com/drug_abuse/article.htm

Ignaszewski, M. J. (2021). The epidemiology of drug abuse. The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology61, S10-S17. https://accp1.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jcph.1937