Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor



The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between drug-related crimes in high-risk, rural Virginia counties (Brunswick County and Grayson County) and efforts to reduce them with a particular focus on a cost-benefit analysis of expenditures. Four independent variables were assessed in relation to drug-related crime: expenditures associated with (1) drug abuse prevention and (2) drug abuse treatment, (3) economic development, and (4) education. Drug abuse prevention and drug abuse treatment are traditional approaches to address the drug use and crime relationship, while economic development and education represent social determinants of health (economic and social factors that impact the health of people in communities). The literature suggests that strategies that build on traditional approaches to reduce substance use and addiction, while simultaneously addressing social determinants of health, are most effective at mitigating the drug use/crime relationship. The following demographic variables were also analyzed: unemployment rates, educational achievement, homeownership rates, median household income, and poverty rates. The theoretical framework used in this research was Paul Goldstein’s tripartite framework for explaining the drug use/violent crime relationship (psychopharmacological violence, economic compulsive violence, and systemic violence). Exploratory, descriptive and explanatory research designs were employed for examining the relationship between drug-related crimes and amelioration efforts in the areas of drug abuse prevention/treatment, economic development, and education. The research used a variety of secondary data amassed by local, state and federal governments, including basic demographic information, homeownership rates, median household income, poverty rates, and unemployment stastics. For example, audit documents from both Brunswick County and Grayson County, and the Virginia Tobacco and Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission (VTICRC) were utilized to determine expenditures for the dependent and independent variables. The data collected from the secondary sources were reviewed and analyzed. The researcher found that drug abuse prevention was inversely correlated with drug-related crime expenditures and drug-related crimes for juveniles. In other words, drug abuse prevention expenditures predicted reductions in drug-related crime expenditures and drug-related crimes for juveniles. The researcher recommends that policymakers reprioritize limited funding to ensure maximum impact of reducing drug-related crimes and its consequences through drug abuse prevention policies and increased funding allocations.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2013