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Your primary goal: to teach the reader about a topic or topics in the study of juvenile delinquency.

1) Four Elements
a) Brief overview of your topic (a type of delinquency, theory or theories of delinquency)
b) How this topic relates to/effected by society
c) Examples from the real world
d) Personal Reaction, Reflection
2) Avoid the Book Report Approach
a) If you spend the entire paper summarizing and repeating what your book said, you missed the point of the project
3) You MUST make the connection to the larger society
a) Discuss how social forces effect your topic
4) Don't lose sight of the sociological approach to the topic

4 Elements of Social Deviance through Substance abuse

Delinquency maybe defined as social deviance. Conformity with social norms or customs of a societal structure is of paramount importance in terms of social integration. Conformity refers to an adherence which social norms which are mandated by society and require societal acceptance. Once socially accepted these norms are ideally incorporated as laws and need to be adhered to by those subject to it. Social conformity is warranted by social construct and requires the absolute concurrence of its citizens. Juvenile delinquency is social deviance amounting to criminal acts as prescribed by law when committed by a minor (Hewitt and Matt). This means the person committing the crime would be below 18 years of age. The following paragraphs will seek to establish the societal implications and consequences of juvenile delinquency in light of substance abuse as a crime (Cicourel). It will also try to establish its relationship with other crimes and its nexus with further crime and deviance.

Substance abuse refers to the possession and unwarranted use of controlled substances. These are psychotropic, psychoactive, psychedelic or stimulating substances that are legally prescribed as controlled substances and only medical use of the same (as per a physician’s advice) is legally permitted (Siegel and Welsh). These substances are abused by various people who use the same for effects that are not medically prescribed. Substance abuse leads to addiction and had often been linked with vulnerable psychological capacities (Siegel and Welsh). Minors are considered to be at a vulnerable psychological state and are more susceptible to be influenced by ideals that are enforced or institutionalized through peers. Substance abuse is one such aspect where institutionalization through peers is an absolute probability. Due to the addictive effect of certain substances the user becomes habituated and is drawn to continual use until the situation arises where the person requires the substances to curb withdrawal symptoms. Many controlled substances are dosage sensitive and the same can be fatal if used improperly (Wickes et al.). This is the first sociological effect of substance abuse which is death in numerous cases. This thus affects every person involved in any way with the deceased and has a deep psychological impact on all those involved with the same (Bao et al). Thus, the elements that establish social deviance through substance abuse are social withdrawal, isolation, withdrawal symptoms leading to social deviance and social exclusion.

As stated above juvenile offenders are more likely to be pressured into engaging in socially deviant behaviour through substance abuse by their peers. However this does not encompass all implications of social deviance through substance abuse. The juvenile offenders involved in the same are likely to be a victim of the addictive effects of these substances (Young and Weerman). This addictive effect leads to various kinds of ancillary crimes which are committed by the juvenile in order to support the habit. This can range from petty theft to murder and in many cases the offenders have claimed to have temporarily impaired judgement when committing the same. Withdrawal symptoms can be both psychological and physical. In case of psychological dependence the offender can be treated by simply depriving them of the substance for a certain period of time and through regular therapy (Sykes and Matza). Physical dependence on the other hand can have serious physical ramifications which need to be curbed by using substitution therapy where a less additive substance is used to slowly change the way in which the habit of the offender works (Cloward and Lloyd). Then through adequate therapy the same maybe curbed. However in cases where the juvenile is facing problems with addiction and is not receiving any treatment for the same the juvenile may engage in any form of social deviance which would allow the juvenile to support the habit (Young and Weerman). In such situations the juvenile can engage in a variety of crimes each of which would have its respective sociological impact.

Sociological impact of Substance abuse

Substance abuse among juveniles is a form of deviance that not only endangers the lives and property for those abusing it but also those who are around these individuals. The major concerns of this are that the addictive properties of these substances is often a cause for peddling the same this adversely affects the society as the affliction is further spread among other members of society (Morris). In order to support the habit the juveniles may turn to more heinous crimes and they would not be receiving appropriate justice for the same as they would be tried as juveniles and would receive lesser harsh judgements which may never include a custodial sentence and may be merely rehabilitation and social reintegration based. Social reintegration is also a challenging procedure for those who engage in substance abuse as they experience a complete withdrawal from society (Hirschi). This thus makes it all the more complicated for these individuals to return to a state of social conformity and adherence to societal norms and customs. Juvenile delinquency of this nature can also lead to fatal accidents among the user and those associated with them. The drive that withdrawal symptoms create among these individuals would overshadow societal restraints that define usual conduct (Cloward and Lloyd). Thus juvenile delinquency in light of substance abuse can pose a serious threat to social conformity and societal standards, if allowed to spread on a larger scale it could instil deviance in much greater degrees. To conclude, these individuals require immediate psychological assistance and detailed social integration therapy which would be the most effective mode of treatment.

In my opinion substance abuse especially among minors is a form of delinquency which needs to be eliminated at every possible instance. The practice not only harms the users but unfairly risks the health and property of all individuals who are associated with these individuals. It is especially dangerous because of its ability to create further sociological problems. This issue of further expanding in the social sphere makes substance abuse a specifically persistent problem. Thus those affected by the same must be treated and it must be ensured that they do not spread the same before receiving treatment for the affliction. I think that for a majority of those who engage in substance abuse socio-economic conditions play a more vital role than the influence of their peers. In many cases the lack of adequate recreation available within a particular social construct or particular social strata can instigate individuals to resort to more easily available instantly gratifying forms of recreation. This instils the question if the socio-economic conditions can be solely responsible for such delinquent behaviour. However, it has been observed through research that a vulnerable mind-set would be a more explainable cause for such conduct and such form of deviance. In many ways the right changes to a particular social condition can avoid an occurrence of such socially unacceptable conduct. I also think that those who suffer from the affliction and seek aid for the same should be afforded the same opportunity at subsidised rates. Government intervention in such initiatives would also be a welcome step into elimination of such a prevalent and widespread social issue. Juvenile delinquency of various forms can be treated through due process of law. However in case of a form of delinquency that cripples the mental and intellectual capacities of a person the same requires intensive medical care as opposed to all forms of penal punishment prescribed under law.

Reference list

Bao, Wan-Ning, et al. "Repeated strains, social control, social learning, and delinquency: Testing an integrated model of general strain theory in China." Youth & Society 46.3 (2014): 402-424.

Cicourel, Aaron. The social organization of juvenile justice. Routledge, 2017.

Cloward, Richard A., and Lloyd E. Ohlin. Delinquency and opportunity: A study of delinquent gangs. Routledge, 2013.

Hewitt, John D., and Matt DeLisi. Delinquency in society. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2016.

Hirschi, Travis. Causes of delinquency. Routledge, 2017.

Morris, Terence. The criminal area: A study in social ecology. Routledge, 2013.

Siegel, Larry J., and Brandon C. Welsh. Juvenile delinquency: Theory, practice, and law. Cengage Learning, 2014.

Sykes, Gresham M., and David Matza. "Juvenile delinquency and subterranean values." Cultural Criminology. Routledge, 2017. 3-10.

Wickes, Rebecca, et al. "Collective efficacy as a task specific process: Examining the relationship between social ties, neighborhood cohesion and the capacity to respond to violence, delinquency and civic problems." American journal of community psychology 52.1-2 (2013): 115-127.

Young, Jacob TN, and Frank M. Weerman. "Delinquency as a consequence of misperception: Overestimation of friends' delinquent behavior and mechanisms of social influence." Social Problems 60.3 (2013): 334-356.

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