Drug-related Crime and What to Watch For

If you’ve kept an eye on the news, then you know that the war on drugs is still going strong in every part of the country. In Wilmington and surrounding areas, the focus for the last few years alone has been on combatting the opioid epidemic.

And while the city’s overall crime rates have decreased – an 11.74% drop in violent crime, according to the police department’s annual report from earlier this year – the drug abuse issue continues to raise questions of what might be done to give addicts the help they need, as well as how that addiction is affecting the crime statistics in the area. Are the two related, and are other substances also to blame?

Countless surveys and studies show plausible reasons for why drug-related crimes occur when and where they do, and the data can be used to target potential problem areas and catalysts, like substance abuse. National data shows that several drugs are more often associated with certain types of crimes based on how they alter a person’s perceptions and behavior while under the influence. Some of the most influential ones across the board include alcohol and opioids.


We usually associate alcohol and the crime rate with DUIs and DWIs, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that roughly 10,847 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashed in 2017 alone. But research conducted also indicates that excessive drinking can lead to a number of violent crimes as well. Of those, the most common were robbery, aggravated assault, and domestic violence. If you or someone you know drinks regularly, keep an eye out for a few warning signs that can lead to destructive behavior: irritability, extreme mood swings, and impulsivity.


While opioid usage has declined somewhat in the Wilmington area, there are still a number of cities across the country dealing with the debilitating effects of the epidemic. One of those is an increased propensity of violent crime and robbery. However, a study released last year by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that many prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) have had a positive impact on that crime rate, particularly among young adults, whose age group has also seen a significant decline on opioid abuse. Some of the warning signs of opioid abuse include a loss of interest in hobbies, exhaustion, depression, a dramatically altered sleeping pattern, and mood swings.

There’s no one answer to eradicating both drug abuse problems and crime in our region, or across the country, but understanding where it all comes from is part of working toward a solution. Stay up to date on legal news and developments with Wentz Law Firm, and contact us if you need representation.

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