Many offenders claim their "problem" is drug use. They contend, if it weren't for drugs, they wouldn't be in the trouble they are in. They offer innumerable reasons for excessive drinking or illegal drug use. They primarily emphasize the theme of escaping something undesirable. For example, drug users and alcoholics may say that they want to escape the bleakness of sordid social conditions in which they live. They may say that they seek to get away from a deteriorating family life. They may seek to escape the tedium of mind-numbing jobs. Escaping boredom is another frequent theme. In other words, the emphasis is upon seeking surcease from any aspect of life that they find oppressive or burdensome.
These explanations are offered mainly as after the fact rationalizations or excuses when others hold them accountable for their behavior. Many men, women, and young people who experience similar difficulties in life respond quite differently. They may be sad, bored, or resentful, but have no interest in drug use whatsoever. Many deal with adversity constructively, working through difficult situations and trying to improve their lives.
Drug-using offenders were irresponsible before ever using drugs. The criminality does not reside within the substance (other than the fact of possessing it). Mind-altering substances bring out what already resides with the individual. If ten men get drunk, all do not rape or commit other crimes. Some, if unaccustomed to drinking, may fall asleep. Some may become silly and joke around more. Some may become loud and boisterous. Some may become belligerent. And perhaps one may get into a car and drive while intoxicated.