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Relationship Between Alcohol And Crime

Extensive information is available that demonstrate a strong relationship between alcohol and crime, particularly violent crime. In the past two decades, a study has discovered mechanisms and effects strongly suggesting that alcohol consumption plays a material, causal role in violent behaviors.

Using Goldstein's tripartite model, alcohol relates well to the psychopharmacological model. Serotonin is a chemical by which nerve cells communicate with one another, and it controls several chemical processes in the brain. Alcohol raises brain serotonin function temporarily, but thereafter, serotonin levels decrease below normal levels (Pihl and Peterson 1993). This decrease in brain serotonin function is "related with heightened vulnerability to depression, increased risk of violent suicide, propensity to exhibit aggressive or impulsive behavior, and susceptibility to alcohol abuse" (Pihl and Peterson 1993). These properties are strongly indicative of a causal relationship between alcohol abuse and violence (therefore, crimes), even though alcohol is only one factor among several that have been found to contribute to violence and aggressive behavior.

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Many researchers have discovered that "problem drinkers, alcohol abusers, and alcoholics appear to be over-represented among adults convicted of violent crimes, and individuals convicted of violent crime often report alcohol consumption immediately prior to their crime" (White et al. 1993). Furthermore, the study indicates that the degree of aggressive response is proportional to the amount of alcohol consumed (Taylor 1993). Empirical information on jail and prison inmates suggests that alcohol consumption also appears to be related with violence. Incarcerated individuals are more likely to have been under the influence of alcohol prior to a violent crime than for an economic crime or other types of crime, except for alcohol-defined violations. Still, other theories suggest that these patterns only represent relation, not causation.

Conversely, alcohol does not fit within the economic compulsive model that Goldstein proposes. Alcohol is relatively inexpensive, and economic crimes, like robbery or theft, would not be necessary for individuals to acquire quantities of alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol is legitimate, easily accessible, and available (for individuals 18 or 19 and older) and thus does not fit the systemic component of Goldstein's model. (Nonetheless, during Prohibition, alcohol was illegitimate, and violence was related to its production and distribution.)


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Marcel Gemme

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people.

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