Research shows that the issues of drug use, actual dealing in drugs, and violence are interrelated. De La Rosa, Lambert, and Gropper assert that this relationship is complex with increased research conducted on the causes, consequences, connections, and implications of this relationship from varying disciplines such as medicine, psychology, criminology, epidemiology, education, and psychology (10). The connection between the use of drugs and violence extends to child violence, domestic violence, gender-based violence, and crime-related violence with considerations of variables such as the type of drug used, dosage, user predisposition, the method used, and the social environment (De La Rosa et al. 11).
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The connection between drug use, dealing, and violence
The basic understanding of this connection involves a theoretical model by Goldstein which has systemic, economic compulsive, and psychopharmacologic dimensions. “The systemic dimension looks at the violence that is intrinsic to the business methods and lifestyles of drug traffickers and distributors while psychopharmacological dimension deals with effects on behaviors due to substance abuse,” (De La Rosa et al. 11). The economic dimension looks at the violent crime usually committed with the aim of obtaining money. Drug selling is related to violence that results from the intrinsic effect it has on the selling of drugs (De La Rosa et al. 17). This is attributed to the consideration of violence in the selection of people to get involved in the trade, expansion of illegal drug sales which is fostered by the desire to attain market control, and the eventual use of violence for self-defense (De La Rosa et al. 36). Further, the violence in the trade is stimulated by the gains from the trade which attract mainly young people from poor backgrounds, and the illegality of the same which requires the perpetrators to take greater risks which pushes them to violence.
The study by Brody Steven in De La Rosa et al. found out that patients intoxicated with cocaine presented aggressive and violent behavior patterns (41-50). De La Rosa et al. (60) suggest that the nature and degree of violence associated with drug abuse come from disorganization surrounding the drug environment, character distortion, control situations by distributors, security, conflict resolution, and discipline. Miller in De La Rosa et al. (123-145) suggests that the experiences of domestic violence by a spouse stimulate drug abuse. The evidence of the degree of violence experienced is correlated with the level of drug abuse while heavy use of the drugs over long periods lowers the levels of aggression. The existence of family violence, the drug abuse by a parent, the gender of the parent abusing the drug, the socio-economic status, and age of children has shown increased influences on engaging in drug abuse and reported violent and aggressive behaviors (De La Rosa et al. 188-200).
Violence related to drug use has also been known to increase the sexual abuse of children, involvement of children in the trade, prostitution, and the abuse of drugs by pregnant women such as smoking and alcohol which have been known to affect the health of the baby (De La Rosa et al. 201). In addition, the influence of past abuses, peer pressure, and socio-economic status are bound to create frustration and a desire for revenge which either leads to drug sale, drug use, and violent behavior (De La Rosa et al. 127).
De La Rosa, Mario, Elizabeth Lambert, and Bernard Gropper. Drugs and violence: Causes, correlates & consequences. [Online].