Prescription Drug Abuse and Violence

We all know about the strong connection between violence, alcohol and street drugs. But with the growing trend of prescription drug abuse comes the sobering fact that violence associated with pill abuse is increasing as well.

A study by Michigan University’s Injury Center, jointly funded by the Injury Center and the National Institutes of Health, focused on data collected through the Flint Youth Injury Study. A team of six researchers examined information collected from 575 participants aged 14-24 that had used either prescription opioids or prescription sedatives and had also been involved in violent actions over the previous year.

Differences Between Men and Women

The researchers found that in 1,262 instances of violence, substance abuse was involved 44 percent of the time. Young men were most likely to be involved in a non-romantic occasion of violence while women were more likely to be part of dating violence. When asked, the participants saw no connection between their drug use and the violence that followed. They were more likely to say that jealousy or bad moods were the cause of the violence.

The participants didn’t connect the dots between their drug use and violence. That, say the researchers, is reason to focus more efforts on teaching young adults how to process anger and work through conflicts. They also need education about how drugs are linked to behavior. As with alcohol or street drugs, abusing prescription medications increases the chances that problems will needlessly escalate. Without those substances it’s much easier to keep a cool head or simply walk away from a situation.

Gender-specific Conflict Resolution

In fact, the researchers who took part in this study suggest that gender-specific conflict resolution training might be what’s called for, given the fact that the types of violence were sex-linked. Women could benefit from learning how to resolve dating-related conflicts while men would seem to benefit most from avoiding non-dating violence.

Adolescents need to see how abusing drugs of any sort leads to negative outcomes. When your state of consciousness is altered, your responses will be altered too.

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