Rising drug abuse leads to more crime

By Paxtyn Merten, News Editor

In Mountlake Terrace, as with the rest of the nation,  more and more people are turning to drugs.

Commander Don Duncan of the Mountlake Terrace Police Department (MTPD) said this drug abuse is resulting in more crime, both property and violent.

As reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), illicit drug use is on the rise in nearly every city and state in America.

Before Initiative 502, the most commonly abused drug in the MLT area was marijuana. Since the initiative passed, marijuana is now considered a legal drug in Washington.

However, the use of heroin, a dangerous and very addictive narcotic, is increasing. According to Duncan, heroin is currently the most popular illegal drug in the area.

Duncan stated that, “People are abusing the privilege of marijuana being legal, but there’s no data to prove that people are abusing it more.”

Certain violent and property crimes are in result of people abusing drugs, according to Duncan.

“A significant portion of crime is in some way attributed to drug use and abuse,” Duncan said.

These violent crimes, such as assault, occur because of the way drugs affect a person’s mind.

Duncan revealed that drug users often commit property crimes such as burglary in order to feed their addictions. This is especially true for more serious drugs. Few people are committing crimes to feed their marijuana addiction.

Commonly, young people start using marijuana and may gradually progress to harder drugs, such as heroin. This causes the age range of people using drugs to be very spread out. Take marijuana out of the equation and the highest percentage of people abusing drugs is from ages 18-35.

“It’s not just your teenagers, it’s on from there. And the younger you start using drugs, the longer you’re likely to abuse them,” Duncan revealed.

“As drugs continue to grow more prevalent in our community, the age range of people abusing them will expand as well,” he said.

“The increasing prevalence of drug use is deteriorating our society,” Duncan affirmed.

In addition to the crimes that drug users tack onto the total crime in the community, they prove to be dangerous drivers while under the influence.

The NIDA divulged that 34 percent of people involved in vehicle collisions tested positive for drugs, and another 10 percent tested positive for both drugs and alcohol.

Duncan said that addicts are also a burden on the community and law system. The police continuously must prosecute and hold them, and then the community must support them once they’re in drug treatment. Duncan reported that this results in high costs for the police.

Even though drugs have a serious impact on the community, Duncan stated that drugs have the most severe impact on the individuals involved.

“Users harm themselves the most by the toll the drugs take on them physically, mentally and emotionally,” Duncan affirmed.

In turn, the drug use also hurts a user’s family, who has to see him or her go through addiction with little to no power over what the user decides to do. Then the harm turns back to the community, in a vicious cycle of abuse, crime, arrest and pain all around.

To anyone dealing with drug problems, Duncan suggested to, “Stop, get help, get treatment, talk to your family if you are able. Do whatever necessary to get off that drug. You will not become anything that you want to become while on drugs.”