The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 61 percent of domestic abusers have drug and/or alcohol addictions. Substance abuse can make people act more aggressively and cause irritability and paranoia, which often leads to arguments among spouses or family members. If problems already exist before drugs or alcohol are added into the mix, the substance abuse can make them turn violent. 80 percent of violent offenders abuse drugs or alcohol, and 50 percent of jail and prison inmates are clinically addicted. Approximately 60 percent of individuals arrested – for any type of crime – test positive for illegal drugs at the time of arrest.
Addicts may commit violent crimes as a result of intoxication or in order to obtain money to finance their habits. Among violent crimes, with the exception of robberies, the offender is far more likely to have been drinking than under the influence of other drugs. There are different types of drug-related violence, although they all boil down to the fact that drugs and alcohol impair self-control and make people less capable of negotiating a non-violent resolution to conflicts. Alcohol and violence may also have common risk factors, such as mental health disorders, that contribute to the risk of both heavy drinking and violent behavior.
Violence may take place at home, against spouses or children. Excessive drinking or drug use can cause or exacerbate many problems in a family. Financial problems are often the cause of disputes, or one partner failing to live up to their responsibilities around the house. If you find yourself in this situation, remove yourself and any children from the home, at least temporarily. If you don’t want to involve law enforcement, try calling a crisis center or hotline that specializes in domestic abuse. There are shelters or safe houses available particularly for women escaping violence at home.
If you do involve law enforcement, laws regarding domestic violence vary by state. Some violent episodes are classified as “domestic abuse” whereas others are classified as “assault,” and this can have an impact on sentencing.
There are also substantial economic costs relating to this kind of violence. The cost of health care, both for the substance user and any potential victims, is substantial. There are also potential court costs and lost wages. In the United States, these amount to a loss of $12.6 billion a year.
Drug and alcohol-related violence don’t just affect couples or families. Each year, more than 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking. 95 percent of all violent crime on college campuses involves the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim or both. 90 percent of acquaintance rape and sexual assault on college campuses involves the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim or both.
Whether or not you have been a victim of violence, if you believe that you or a loved one are suffering from a substance abuse problem, call Asana Recovery at (949) 438-4504 to learn about our medical detox and residential and outpatient therapy programs.