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December 12 , 2009

Alcohol and Violence

The Nature of the Relationship and the Promise of Prevention


Many people have experienced or witnessed situations in which people drinking alcohol get aggressive, obnoxious, and violent. Scientific research has shown evidence of a relationship between alcohol and violence, and even evidence that alcohol plays a role in causing violent and aggressive responses. The book explores a number of aspects of this relationship. If you have been drinking are you more likely to be a victim of crime? If victimized, does drinking alcohol make you more likely to be injured? How does availability of alcohol in the community influence rates of violence among Mexican American youth? Does advertising that links sex and alcohol result in higher rates of sexual assault in Latino neighborhoods? How do elementary school children react to experimentation with drugs, alcohol, and aggression? Do countries outside the United States have alcohol and violence problems, and do these impact men and women differently? We presents original research that shows the depths and conditions under which alcohol and violence are linked, further strengthening the evidence that alcohol use and availability is an important factor in violence in our cities, neighborhoods, school, and homes.

The good news is that we regulate alcohol use and availability effectively, with a body of established laws and procedures. We can, therefore, find ways using this existing system to develop new ways to prevent the alcohol related violence studied here. The second half of the book begins this task by laying out the principles of environmental prevention, a strategy that has been very successful in a number of health and safety related domains. The next four chapters show just how environmental prevention strategies have worked, and worked very effectively, to lower rates of violence by reducing alcohol availability and alcohol consumption. The research reported here shows communities different approaches and mechanisms to achieve reductions in violence, and they provide a road map for communities everywhere to follow suit and reduce alcohol related violence. Reducing violence can be accomplished, everyone can do it if they work together, and the result is a safer and better society.
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