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Alcohol a Key Player in Crime

Posted in Alcohol Abuse

We all know about the obvious dangers of overindulging in alcohol. Aside from making us physically ill, drinking in excess can cause a whole host of other physical and social problems. Some chronic users suffer from brain or liver damage, while others increase their risk of cardiovascular and respiratory dangers such as stroke, heart failure and pneumonia. Additionally, those who abuse alcohol often have problems in their relationships with spouses, co-workers, and other family members and friends.

Another concern of alcohol misuse is drunk driving and traffic related offenses. Because alcohol is a sedative, it slows the reflexes of its users, impairs their vision, and interrupts their speech and thought processes. Sadly, about 40% of all traffic accidents resulting in death are alcohol related.

Something we might not know so well, though, is that there is a direct link between alcohol abuse and violent crime. In a study evaluating numerous forms of violent crimes, it was found that in about 67% of cases, the perpetrator had used alcohol. Indeed, studies of inmates serving time in U.S. state prisons show that almost one-third willingly admit to abusing alcohol before committing the crimes for which they were serving time.

Multiple studies involving domestic abuse victims lead us to believe that alcohol may also be a key reason why simple disputes escalate and get out of hand. One study showed that, of those involved in a relationship, alcohol was consumed in approximately 75% of incidents reported—either by the abuser or the victim themselves. It also appears that the potential for violent crime and aggression escalates substantially, mainly when the male has consumed alcohol.

All-in-all, alcohol is responsible for about half of all violent crimes committed. This not only includes motor vehicle related crimes and domestic abuse, but also encompasses such categories as homicides, assaults, sexual assaults and property crimes. Especially at risk are adolescents, particularly those who start drinking before age 15. Because they tend to have more difficulty controlling levels of alcohol consumption, they are more likely to exhibit violent behavior.

Alcohol abuse seems to escape the criticism of its not-so-distant cousin – drug abuse, in part because it is legal and very socially accepted. In fact, alcohol is the oldest and most commonly used drug on earth. Often, alcohol abuse goes unnoticed by those on the outside because of this. While changes in one’s behavior can by caused by alcohol abuse, they may not be attributed to alcohol misuse soon enough. These types of signals are not always heeded before it’s too late.

If you or someone you know is a chronic alcohol abuser, treatment is as close as a phone call away. Alcoholism is nothing to be ashamed of, and is certainly not uncommon. Rehabilitation centers and staff are ready and willing to help.