As this story in Time Magazine notes, there is much to be said for the corrosive aspects of labeling—in this case as an addict/alcoholic.
The greatest examination of childhood criminal labeling shaping an adult criminal life is the wonderful book by Sartre, Saint Genet.
An excerpt from Time.
“Matt Thomas" (a pseudonym) had only recently begun experimenting with marijuana when he got caught selling a few joints in the bathroom at his junior high school. It was no big deal, Thomas thought, especially considering that his parents — an investment banker and a homemaker — smoked pot too.
“But Thomas' grades had already begun to slip, perhaps because of his increasing alcohol and marijuana use; that, coupled with his drug-dealing offense, was enough for the school to recommend that his parents place him in an inpatient drug-treatment program. Thomas, then 13, was sent to Parkview West, a residential rehab center located a few miles from his suburban Minneapolis home.
“But rather than encouraging sobriety, Thomas says, his seven-week stint at Parkview West helped trigger a decades-long descent into severe addiction — from regular marijuana user to daily drinker to cocaine and methamphetamine addict. "It was [in rehab] that they told me that I was a drug addict and an alcoholic," says Thomas. "There was no turning back. The whole event solidified and created this notion in my own mind and in my social status. Who I was, was an alcoholic and drug addict."
“In treatment, Thomas met other addicts. He attended daily group therapy with older teens, who regaled him with glamorized war stories about drugs he'd never tried. In rehab, says Thomas, one's first question upon meeting a new person is, "What's your drug of choice?" And that's often followed by, "What's that like?" Thomas recalls hearing a description of an LSD high so seductive that he pledged he would try it if he got the chance. He did, not long after getting out of rehab.”