Local News

Connection Between Drugs and Crime Remains Prominent

Posted August 12, 1998

— Police say McNeill murder suspect Nathaniel Fair Jr. was in Durham Wednesday night to buy drugs. His father says he has a drug problem. The connection between drugs and criminal activity is overwhelming.

The Justice Department says 80 percent of the people who commit crimes are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Many addicts will do just about anything to support their habit.

"I would lie, cheat and steal," Sylvia Robinson, 47, said. Robinson says she's the daughter of a drug dealer, who became a drug addict herself. To get a quick fix, she often stole more than 100 dollars a day to buy heroin and cocaine. What she did to get the money landed her in jail for more than a year.

"It was just like having a job, you got ready to go out and steal and rob, that was your job so you could buy your drugs," Robinson explained.

Nationwide, the number of criminals committing crimes for drugs is staggering. One of every 144 American adults is behind bars for a crime where drugs or alcohol was involved.

The counselors here at the TASC program knows all too well what drug users will do to support their habit. Ninety-five percent of their clients have committed crimes to get drugs.

TASC or Treatment Alternatives to Street Crimes finds offenders the treatment they need. Director Andy Miller says the crimes will only get worse if the abuser does not get help.

"We've seen cases where people start out at petty theft and graduate to armed robberies and attempted bank robberies," TASC Director Andy Miller said. "As their drug cravings grow, the need for more money grows, and you know they're capable of doing almost anything.

More than anything, Robinson wants to lead a drug and crime free life. She says through treatment at the Cumberland County Mental Health Center, she has been clean for seven months.

Experts say one of the biggest reasons drug addicts don't seek help is because they don't know help is available.


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