substance abuse

People abuse substances such as drugs and alcohol for a variety of complicated reasons, but it is clear that our society pays a considerable cost. The toll for this abuse can be seen in our hospitals and emergency departments through the direct damage done to health and the physical suffering caused by substance abuse.  The growing population in jails and prisons also support the strong connection between crime and drug dependence and abuse.
No One Deserves to be Abused

substance abuse and intimate partner violence

The association between alcohol use and intimate partner abuse has been well established, and there is growing evidence that drug use is also associated with intimate partner abuse. In fact, regular alcohol abuse is one of the leading factors for intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence, drug and alcohol addiction frequently occur together, but there is no evidence to suggest that the substance abuse is the cause of intimate partner violence. The use of alcohol and drugs simply serve to lower the Abuser’s inhibitions, making it easier for them to abuse their partner.

There is also evidence that victims of intimate partner abuse may find themselves involved with alcohol and drugs as a result of being abused. Studies show that women who have been abused are fifteen times more likely to abuse alcohol and nine times more likely to abuse drugs than women who have not been abused. Victims who are substance abusers may find that:

  • Drinking and drugging increase the risk of becoming the victim of intimate partner abuse;
  • They will turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope after being a victim of intimate partner abuse;
  • Drugs and alcohol inhibit the ability to protect themselves in an abusive relationship.

Substance Abuse and Children
Children of alcoholics and other substance abusers are a population without a clear definition. In families where alcohol or drugs are being abused, behavior is frequently unpredictable, communication is unclear, and family life is chaotic. Children often feel confused and insecure. Children living with these conditions love their parents and worry about them, and yet feel angry and hurt that their parents do not love them enough to stop using. Many blame themselves for their parent’s substance abuse.

Children of substance abusers are often frightened, and may be the victims of physical abuse or incest. They are also more likely to experience physical, sexual and emotional abuse than children in non-abusing households. Because parents who abuse alcohol or drugs are more likely to be involved with domestic violence, divorce, unemployment, mental illness and legal problems, their ability to parent effectively is severely compromised. There is also a higher occurrence of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and suicide attempts among children of alcoholics than among their peers. Children of alcoholics are also 3 – 4 times more likely than others to become addicted to alcohol or other drugs themselves.

Substance Abuse and Sexual Assault
There are numerous connections between substance abuse and sexual assault, in fact, 37% of rapes and sexual assaults involve alcohol use by the offender. In many sexual assaults, both the perpetrator and/or the victim may be using/abusing alcohol and drugs prior to the assault. For the perpetrator, being under the influence may remove inhibitions which normally keep most people from acting out violently. Drugs and alcohol are also often used as an excuse for criminal behavior. For the victim, the use of alcohol and drugs makes it more difficult to stay away from dangerous situations and to problem-solve their way out of an assault. Additionally, studies document that there is a high percentage of victims who report that alcohol and drugs have helped them “numb out” and push away the awful memories of sexual violence.

Many sexual assault perpetrators have admitted to feeding alcohol or drugs to their victims. Date rape drugs such as Rohypnol, also known as Rophyl, Ruffles, Roofies, and Ruffies, and GHB are almost always given to victims without their knowledge. They are typically slipped in to a drink, and when they take effect, can prevent the victim from resisting sexual assault.

Drugs or Alcohol is Not the Problem
Many people mistakenly believe that it is drug or alcohol abuse that is responsible for violent and abusive behavior.  In almost every case of substance abuse and addiction, it is not the substance that is the primary problem, rather, the alcohol or drug use is just one of many symptoms of an underlying problem. Using and abusing drugs and alcohol simply lowers inhibitions, making it easier for the Abuser to commit acts of violence.

An effective treatment and recovery program will not only treat the substance abuse problems, but will also address the underlying conditions…the true problem. The first step to stopping abusive behavior and violence is to stop the drinking and drugging. It is important to understand, the main problem that is responsible for an Abuser’s aggression and violence cannot be addressed until the drug and alcohol use/abuse has stopped.

For more information on Drug and Alcohol Treatment programs please visit or call:

Alcoholics Anonymous (hyperlink address is

Narcotics Anonymous (hyperlink address is

Local A.A. Information Lines:
Bishop: 760-873-6700
Big Pine: 760-932-7418
Lone Pine: 760-876-5692
Mammoth Lakes: 760-934-3434
Walker: 530-495-2216