Copyright

Drug Crimes: Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Political Crime: Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 What Are Drug Crimes?
  • 0:33 Examples of Drug Crimes
  • 1:46 Personal vs. Public Harm
  • 2:53 Other Motivations
  • 4:02 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson defines the concept of a drug crime. We'll explore several examples of different types of drugs crimes, and we'll discuss some theories behind why so many drugs are illegal.

What Are Drug Crimes?

Drug crimes are violations of laws that involve any combination of manufacturing, distributing, or using drugs that U.S. federal or state governments classify as illicit substances. This could mean growing the opium poppy, dealing heroin on the streets, or using cocaine. There are a lot of different types of drug crimes. This lesson goes over some examples and then explains why using an illicit drug is (generally, given some differing state and federal laws) a crime.

Examples of Drug Crimes

So what are some examples of drug crimes? Some drug crimes involve offenses that directly counteract a set law regulating or prohibiting the use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of illicit drugs. These crimes are called drug-defined offenses. For example, there are laws against the cultivation of marijuana. If you ignore these laws and grow marijuana in your basement with artificial lighting and irrigation, you're committing a drug-defined offense. There are also laws against distributing and possessing drugs. If you are caught transporting cocaine in a false door or bottom of your car, you've committed another drug-defined offense.

Other drug crimes have less to do with violating a specific law regulating the manufacture, distribution, or possession of drugs and more to do with drug-related offenses. For instance, someone might commit a crime partly because of the influence of the drug they're on. That's a drug-related offense. This could be assaulting someone while under the influence of a drug.

Another example of a drug-related offense is stealing money from your mom or from a local convenience store to get money to support your drug habit. A crime committed with respect to drug distribution, like shooting a rival drug dealer, is a drug-related offense as well.

Using and abusing a drug is (largely) a crime as well. But why? Why is it a crime to do something like this in the privacy of your own home? You mght argue that it's one thing to manufacture or distribute a drug but a personal choice such as drug use shouldn't be a crime.

Personal vs. Public Harm

There is more than one school of thought on this. One obvious answer to why it's a crime involves what you've already learned: drug-related offenses. While the choice to use a drug is yours, the effects of the drug use might not always be limited to you. Your driving while high might end up killing someone. Your state of mind might lead you to assault someone else. Thus, personal drug use can become a very real public danger.

Another good reason to criminalize the use of drugs is for personal protection. Some drugs are highly addictive and might lead to serious personal, economic, physical and mental collapse, and ultimately, death. Society creates laws to try and minimize the chances that one of its own dies for something as meaningless as, say, heroin. It's not beneficial to society at large to experience mental or physical decay for any reason, drugs included.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support