Alcoholism and drug related offences being victimless crime; they fall in the category of public order crimes or consensual crimes. Siegel (2004) has defined victimless crime or public order crime as “crime which involves acts that interfere with the operations of society and the ability of the people to function efficiently.” It must, however, be noted though alcoholism and drug addiction are victimless crime, they do carry with them secondary victims such as family, dependents, friends, acquaintances etc.
Alcoholism and drug habituation has 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 stimulant to withstand adversities. However, with the unprecedented expansion of pharmaceutical industry, the use, abuse and misuse of alcohol and drugs has increased leaps and bounds covering almost all sections of society.
Alcoholism and drug addiction are indicative of the irresponsibility and weakness of the character of the persons using these intoxicants. The relation between alcoholism and various aggressive and criminal acts is often confirmed by police records and prison statistics which indicate that in the present day there is a considerable increase in such alcoholic-criminal episodes. Experience has shown that various preventive and punitive measures such as fine, imprisonment or detention for drukenness and other disorderly behaviours have failed in eliminating this menace.
It has been generally agreed that criminality in human beings is to be attributed to their mental depravity. Persons with balanced emotional and physical health normally do not indulge in criminality or aggressive conduct; nor do they take to alcoholism beyond control.
Investigations made by sociologists and criminologists on alcohol-crime relationship reveal that there is a close resemblance between the structure of alcoholics and criminals. This proposition brings us to the following conclusions regarding the impact of alcoholism and drug-addicts on criminality:
(1) Crimes are often planned in liquor shops and bars where alcohol is sold.
(2) Offenders generally consume liquor and alcohol or drugs to overcome their inhibitions and emotional strains.
(3) The booty and gains of crime are often distributed and shared in liquor or wine-shops.
(4) Alcohol and narcotic drugs help to remove the element of self-criticism from the criminal in relation to himself and his acts.
(5) Juvenile delinquency and drinking are intimately connected.
(6) The illegality of purchase and possession of alcohol and narcotic drugs make alcoholics or drug addicts delinquent ipso facto.
(7) Alcoholism and drug addiction being forbidden by law, their procurement gives rise to a number of related 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.
(8) 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.
Of late, drug abuse seems to have become a fashion for fun to relieve boredom, to get rid of tensions at home and in society, to feel good and high, to revolt against establishment, to heighten sexual experience, improve studying and so on.