Why Do Juveniles Commit Deviant Crime

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One of the biggest issues in the United States is the abuse and distribution of drugs, especially within our youths (Cox, p. 58). Thousands of juveniles are exposed to drugs (e.g., cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol) on a daily basis whether it is at school, on the streets, or at home. As they transition from being children to becoming adolescents there are many psychological and emotional changes, making them vulnerable to delinquent behaviors (Lin, Dembo, 2008, p. 33). What causes juveniles to commit deviant crimes and abuse drugs? Social interaction is believed to be the source of delinquent behavior. It is important to understand factors such as time, place, audience, and nature of the behavior when analyzing delinquency (Cox, p. 99). Sociological…show more content…
99). There is a strong relationship between drug use and delinquency. Drugs and alcohol are commonly known as a form of dealing with negative feelings associated with strain. Lower class juveniles suffer the most with strain, they begin to feel powerless to change their circumstances and become depressed turning to drugs as an escape from the disappointment they face day-to-day. Juvenile involvement with drugs is a national concern and begins with “gateway drugs”, such as marijuana and alcohol. When the strain becomes harder to deal with and the user’s tolerance for marijuana and alcohol increases, the individual may turn to the use of “hard drugs” such as heroin, crack, and methamphetamine to satisfy their habit (Lin, Dembo, 2008, p. 33). Narcotics are widely available and can be found in school, at work, or in the neighborhood at a cheap price per dose but because of its addictiveness the need for money rises (Cox, p. 59). When an addict wants to cop (term used to buy illegal drugs), but doesn’t have the money, they may commit violent crimes (e.g., assault, homicide, burglary) in order to get their…show more content…
Children observe and imitate negative and positive behaviors performed by their parents, which is why family context is so important in the development of delinquency. Single-parent families with low socioeconomic status are more likely to abuse substances than middle class two-parent families (Lee, Alkers, Borg, 2004, p. 18). Constant exposure to drugs at home might strike a juvenile’s interest in drugs, putting them in a position where they are likely to begin abusing the substance, especially if their parents encourage the use of drugs. “By adhering to lower-class norms, pressure toward delinquency is inevitable and is rewarded and respected in the lower-class value system” (Cox, p.
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