Skip to Content

How Does Drug Use Play Into Criminal Charges?


The relationship between drugs and crime is well-known. It is common for areas with high drug use to also have high crime levels. However, you may not understand exactly how they relate and why this happens.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are three general ways that drugs relate to crime and can lead to criminal behavior or charges. These include using drugs, committing a crime while under the effects of drugs, and committing a drug offense. Such activity often happens in stages, showing drugs can easily lead to criminal charges.

Using drugs

Using drugs may lead to crime because drug use, for the most part, is an illegal activity. While you may not get caught by law enforcement every time you use drugs, it is highly likely that eventually, you will. In addition, using drugs has side effects that can lead you to not being able to keep a job or expose you to criminal situations.

Criminal activity while using drugs

Drug-related crimes are often the next step up from just using drugs. Eventually, law enforcement catches you doing something while under the influence and you end up with a criminal charge. What you are doing may not be a crime itself, such as driving, but because you are under the influence, it becomes a crime.

Criminal activity related to drugs

The next step is usually committing crimes directly related to drugs. This may include buying or selling them. You could face charges for making drugs or trafficking them as well. If an officer catches you in possession of drugs, this is also a drug offense.