Categories of Criminological Theories Essay

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The Use of Criminological Theories to Explain Drug Use

The use of criminological theories to explain drug use falls into three groups. These reasons, according to Levinthal (2016), can be classified as biological, sociological, and psychological. The ideas lay out the main arguments for why it's thought that effective drug use is a factor in crime. Drug use is characterized by sociological theories as a collective or societal occurrence with social, cultural, and economic roots. Furthermore, sociological theories claim that the reasons are not people's genetic, biological, or psychological traits. (Freilich & LaFree, 2015). But the social and anti-drug policies primarily target the subjects of studies. Additionally, the sociologists use the theories to understand drug use and substance abuse among people. The sociological theories outline the use of drugs to be associated with the individual behaviors. For example, the individual has poor decisions when they are using drugs.

The Role of Sociological Theories

According to Levinthal (2016), sociological theories identify how social challenges such as inequality, poverty and social disorganization lead to substance abuse and criminal activities among individuals. For example, the individual engages in community robbery due to the social surrounding factors. However, these problems provide mechanisms of creating strong social policies to regulate the use of drugs. Moreover, Levinthal (2016) elaborates that through the theory, the sociologists do not focus on chemical imbalances, personality traits or the genetic predispositions but social meanings of norms, drugs and their consequences. Due to increase in abuse of drugs, various governments and institutions rely on the sociological theories to reduce the rate of substance. Therefore, the Sociological concept offers the best opportunity in developing drug policies. As a result, there is an increase in approaches to treating and preventing drug abuse.

The Role of Biological Theories

Biological theories postulate different physical mechanisms within the individuals that influence them to abuse drugs. These criteria are hereditary acquired or controlled by the environmental factors. Eker and Mus (2016) view this as the conjunction between the intrinsic and environmental factors. Biological theories describe two key factors that initiate the use of drugs by individuals. These factors include metabolic imbalance and genetic elements. Based on these factors, biologists argue that use of drugs is a physical attribute that is passed from the parent to the child. As a result, theories of criminal activities are associated with the use of drugs. Moreover, substance abuse is inherited or acquired from different biological environments. However, based on the psychological theories, psychologists argue that methods depending on the mental factors have two distinct varieties.

The Role of Psychological Theories

According to Freilich and LaFree (2015), the variations include an emphasis on reinforcement and stressing on the personality of substance abuse among the user. Considering the psychological theories, drug abusers are people who receive rewards for using drugs. As a result, the individuals continuously use drugs and engage in criminal activities. However, the reinforcement theories mainly underplay the personality factors of an individual that leads to drug abuse and participation in illegal activities. But according to Levinthal (2016), the psychological theory tends to enhance the reinforcement mechanisms in an individual based on their subjective perceptions.

Biological Factors Used To Explain Drug Abuse

Several biological factors explain the current increase in substance abuse among the individuals. The biological factors are believed to occur from the environments or genetic inheritance (Levinthal, 2016). But the research focuses on genetic, metabolic and biological activities.

Genetic Factors

Based on the biological theories, the genetic factors are the primary cause of increased drug abuse. According to Eker and Mus (2016), the theory describes the genetic makeup of people to increase their predisposing towards using drugs and alcohol. The combination of genes or a single gene influences distinct biological mechanisms that are relevant in abusing drugs. However, the genetic factors are inherited from the individuals or the environments. For example, individuals abuse substances since they inherited the trait from their parents or their surroundings. Levinthal (2016) argues that despite being significant for the biological constitution, genetic factors determine various behaviors in an individual that ignite drug abuse activities. Moreover, the genetic factors for substance abuse focus on the increase in alcohol consumption.

The Metabolic Imbalance

The metabolic imbalance is a biological factor that explains variations in the use of drugs within the body systems of an individual. Based on physiological theories, Freilich and LaFree (2015) elaborate that biologists argue that several individuals engage in drug abuse due to the metabolic disorders such as diabetics. The treatment of these diseases is characterized by various chemicals hence causing a metabolic imbalance in the body systems. As a result, some people resort to using drugs like heroin, Mira, and marijuana to cure their disorders. But in his study Levinthal (2016) argues that the drug addicts from metabolic imbalance cannot be withdrawn from drug abuse since their body would continue to crave. This contradicts Eker and Mus (2016) who support that there are metabolic imbalances that have been put in place to reduce the metabolic imbalance effects.

Biological Activities

Increase in biological activities influences the use of drugs among the people. According to Levinthal (2016), these biological activities include drug experimentations in medical laboratories, increase in drugs trading. As a result, those individuals involved in such activities have a higher rate of drug use. For example, medical practitioners engage in testing the effectiveness of drugs on different clients or among themselves. This leads to severe infection by adverse medications. But due to increase in biological activities, drug abuse has been on the rise since individuals believe drugs to have short-term effects (Freilich & LaFree, 2015). Therefore, the natural factors are not only significant in reducing drug abuse but also act as the main reason for drug use. Moreover, substance abuse results not only from natural factor but also from political, social, psychological, and economic elements. Based on this factors, this research paper finds that the biological explanations alone are not sufficient in explaining why individual abuse drugs.


Eker, A., & Mus, E. (2016). Specialization in offending: A comprehensive review of criminological theories and empirical studies. Journal of Human Sciences, 13(1), 2295-2322.

Freilich, J. D., & LaFree, G. (2015). Criminology theory and terrorism: Introduction to the special issue. Terrorism and Political Violence, 27, 1–8.

Levinthal, C. F. (2016). Drugs, society, and criminal justice. Boston: Prentice Hall.

July 15, 2023

Science Health

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