Addressing the Desperate Measures of Theft to Sustain Addiction

Addiction is a complex and devastating disease that can drive individuals to desperate measures in order to sustain their habit. One such measure is theft. When someone is struggling with addiction, they may resort to stealing in order to obtain the money or items needed to support their drug use. In this article, we will explore the statistics on stealing and drug addiction, why people struggling with addiction steal from family and friends, common excuses used by individuals who steal, and how to help a loved one who is stealing to fuel their drug habit.

Statistics on Stealing and Drug Addiction

Stealing to support a drug addiction is a drug-related crime. It is driven by an individual’s need for money to sustain their overwhelming cravings to continue using. Shockingly, around 60% of inmates in state prisons and local jails meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. Furthermore, nearly 20% of prisoners admit to committing their crimes in order to obtain money for drugs. However, it is important to note that these statistics only account for self-reported actions. The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that anywhere between 5% to 30% of robberies, burglaries, car thefts, and larcenies are committed by individuals under the influence of drugs such as opiates, methamphetamines, and cocaine.

Why People Struggling With Addiction Steal From Family Members and Friends

Stealing from family members and friends is a heartbreaking experience, often leaving the victims feeling betrayed and violated. However, it is crucial to understand that individuals who steal to fuel their drug addiction are driven by desperation, not hatred. Addiction is a disease that hijacks the brain’s reward circuitry, leading to devastating consequences. When addiction takes hold, individuals may resort to lying, cheating, and stealing in order to sustain their drug use. The brain’s rewiring makes it easier for them to justify these behaviors, as their sole focus becomes obtaining and using drugs.

Excuses They Might Use

Individuals struggling with addiction are often unwilling to admit that they have a problem. When confronted with their stealing, they may come up with various excuses to deflect anger and avoid taking responsibility for their actions. Some common excuses include:

  • “I didn’t think you’d mind if I borrowed a few dollars.”
  • “I forgot to ask.”
  • “I was going to pay you back.”
  • “You let me borrow money when I needed it.”
  • “You said I could take some money, remember?”

It is important to recognize these excuses as attempts to manipulate the situation and avoid facing the reality of their addiction. While it may be difficult, it is crucial to address the issue head-on and not enable their destructive behavior.

How to Help a Loved One Who Is Stealing to Fuel a Drug Habit

Discovering that a friend or family member has been stealing from you to support their drug habit can be devastating. However, it is essential to remember that you are not helpless in this situation. Here are some steps you can take to help your loved one and protect yourself:

  1. Be honest: Many people struggling with addiction are in denial about how their actions impact those they love. It is important to be honest and confront them about their behavior. Express your feelings of hurt and betrayal, and help them recognize the depths of their addiction.
  2. Reassess your financial connections: If you have joint financial accounts that your loved one can access to fund their drug habit, it may be time to separate your finances completely. This will help protect your own financial well-being and prevent further theft.
  3. Report the theft: In some cases, it may be necessary to involve law enforcement. If your loved one has stolen your identity or valuable property, filing a police report can help you recoup your losses. While this may result in your loved one’s arrest, it could also serve as a wake-up call for them to seek treatment.

Find Effective Substance Misuse Treatment

Addressing the issue of theft can be a turning point for your loved one to recognize the need for substance misuse treatment. If you or someone you care about is ready to break free from the destructive effects of addiction. Our team of experts in Addiction Medicine is dedicated to providing comprehensive treatment options tailored to each individual’s specific needs. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and take the first step towards recovery.


Stealing to sustain a drug addiction is a devastating consequence of substance misuse. Understanding the statistics, reasons behind the theft, and common excuses used by individuals struggling with addiction can help us approach the issue with empathy and compassion. It is crucial to address the problem head-on and provide support for our loved ones who are trapped in the cycle of addiction. By seeking effective substance misuse treatment options, we can help individuals break free from the grip of addiction and regain control of their lives. Remember, there is hope and help available for those who are ready to embark on the journey of recovery. Call us today at 833-820-2922.