COMMUNITY VOICES September, 2022 BECCI TEN BENSEL
Executive director for Women’s Rural Advocacy Programs
September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, promoting new treatment options for those struggling with addiction and emphasizing the need for strong community support.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), a study found that physical domestic violence was 11 times more likely on days of heavy drinking or drug use. Domestic violence can appear in a variety of ways including physical, sexual, mental, emotional, financial, etc. (See also Role of Illicit Drug Use in Domestic Violence (Aust) and In supportive services for domestic violence victims, it is common knowledge that experts believe that domestic violence comes from a need to control others and have power over others.
Overall, there is no excuse for domestic violence and there is no one size fits all explanation as to why it occurs. However, when someone is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may lose inhibition control, which increases the risk for violence. This does not mean that all violent acts are contributed by drugs or alcohol, however there is a significant correlation between the two. (See also, Alcohol and drug use exacerbate family violence and can be dealt with )
Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol may have difficulty thinking rationally and they are more likely to act out violently. According to the ASAM, substance use disorders occur in between 40% to 60% of incidents of intimate partner violence. Alcohol was found to be a factor in 30% to 40% of incidents involving a male abuser, and 27% to 34% of incidents involving a female abuser.
Furthermore, if the victim of a domestic violence assault is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, they may have difficulties accurately assessing the danger that they are in and, in some situations, can worsen the situation, as well.
According to Addiction Group, data shows that 45% of abusive partners, which have been convicted of the murder, were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident that resulted in the death of the victim. In these cases, the average blood alcohol concentration was three times the legal limit. (See also Alcohol and Other Drug Use & Dating Violence. )
The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS) reports that women are more likely to do drugs with an intimate partner, whereas men are more likely to do drugs with other male friends. The NCDAS also reports that women participating in the drug trade is predominantly affected by socioeconomic vulnerability, economic difficulties, trafficking, violence, and intimate relationships. Meaning that women in abusive relationships are often forced to buy and sell illegal substances by their partner.
— Becci ten Bensel is executive director for Women’s Rural Advocacy Programs