The Relationship between Delinquency and Drug UseIn my attempt to discover if delinquency and drug use, or the sale of drugs were correlated with one another, my research lead to a positive correlation, especially when there was gang membership involved. The theory I have chosen to tie in with my review of the articles I found is the social learning theory of Edwin Sutherland known as differential association theory. According to Britannica online, Sutherland's differential association theory of delinquent behavior is learned from other persons who are also engaged in delinquent behaviors. Sutherland believes that a person becomes delinquent because of an access amount of exposure to the definitions of criminal behavior and the violation of the law (Britannica 2007). This particular belief is a good theory to use to explain juvenile delinquency. Orcutt (1983) explains that Sutherland states that everyone has social groups which influence each of us in the actions that we chose to engage in according to the norms and values of that group.
An example would be that most of our parents teach us that we should respect and obey the law. However, there are those that some people are associated with inside their social network that influence in negative ways, tempting and leading others into deviant behavior. Such as assuring those within a group that certain drugs should not be criminalized and that the chance of getting caught with them is very slim. With enough pressure and continued exposure to that mindset and behavior pattern, an individual whom has not been engaged in certain illegal behaviors becomes involved with those activities that promote the illegal and delinquent behaviors. The behavior referred to in this paper is the use or selling of drugs and its connection with juvenile delinquency and gangs. According to Orcutt (1983),