The Link Between Drugs, Alcohol & Violent Behavior
Over the years the use of alcohol and its relation to the subsequent violent behavior that ensues has been very apparent. Movies, television, literature, and song all have some type of literal contribution as to the results of drinking on a person predisposed to violence in the first place, and there is no surprise whatsoever when even the nicest of individuals turns into a monster after a few too many drinks.
Some very simple statistics that support this is the fact that more than 50% or either the victims or the perpetrators of murder are intoxicated at the time of the crime’s committal.Other violent crimes committed are nearly always associated in some way, shape, or form with the use of alcohol and the loss of inhibition and effective decision making skills that one would be able to exercise without the presence of the drug in the body. It should also be noted that non-violent crimes are predominantly related to alcohol use as well.
One fact that is a sure thing: as of yet science has not been able to find a solid relationship that makes the relationship between alcohol and violence exclusive. Studies thus far performed regarding the issue suggest that the violent result is a reaction between a combination as physical, psychological, mental, and emotional aspects that simply do not fall together properly to begin with. The introduction of alcohol to this already confusing equation results in the violent behavior that many experience and/or witness when with one carrying around this combination of problems.
Another important point included in this fact is the point that for some, a small amount of alcohol will cause the same results a large amount may cause in another. Some have suggested this is due to body weight, as well as the individuals established tolerance to the alcohol they are ingesting. One more point that is quite frank to speak of is the fact that cultural beliefs and expectations will also determine the amount of violence that occurs when drink is involved. If fighting or violence is associated with the use of alcohol in certain circles, chances are great that the violence will indeed occur, regardless of all other circumstances.
As far as violence when using other drugs with alcohol, a study done by the National Academy reports that opiates and marijuana lessen violent behavior, mellowing the user and deterring them from pursuing such damaging routes of action. While subsequent withdrawal from these drugs, as well as that of alcohol, do incite violent behavior, studies have shown, the fact remains that the drugs themselves tend to result in a much more relaxed and serene effect. Basically, the theory that the elimination of drugs will eliminate violence is quite preposterous. Is it not truly the individual needing the assistance to begin with?
Other studies have been conducted using other types of drugs, including psychotropics, hallucinogens, speed, PCP, and many other types of drugs, both natural and pharmaceutical. Many of these drugs have resulted in violent behavior through use alone, while the behavior was indeed amplified with the use of alcohol. Drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine, which have been abused by the user for long periods of time, will typically result in a rapid breakdown of the individuals ability to control any type of anger, and use of these drugs while drinking can, and often does, result in the violent criminal cases which we touched on briefly in an earlier section. Because of these drug’s ability to enter the bloodstream at such a rapid pace, brain chemistry which has been carefully balanced for that day alone has been destroyed. The implications are obvious.
Probably the most pertinent discovery on this subject is as follows: “For illegal psychoactive drugs the illegal market itself counts for far more violence than pharmacological effects.” In essence, the war on drugs is its own creation, therefore. At its core, the war on drugs and alcohol is a perpetuation of Creativity is the Mother of Invention VS. the Law of the Land.
The war on drugs is all encompassing, and does not show discrimination by any means. One is as good as another. It is a war that is being fought while in the midst of a recession, during a time when the need is greater than the end. While many keep alcoholism and addiction in a nice, tidy box, those within the box are well aware of the distance the great have fallen; the great that join them in that box daily. One wonders, with knowledge or with none, if this is simply a tool of distraction, a way to exercise sleight of hand in hiding true poverty and pain from an unknowing, blissful, voting middle class.
Source: “Do Drugs and Alcohol Cause Violence?”, from “Violence: Reflections On Our Deadliest Epidemic”, by Games Gilligan