In commemoration of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the North Coast Prevention Works Coalition wishes to share a few thoughts about the intersection of substance abuse and domestic violence. The following points are especially important to consider.

First, while research and experience from the field confirm the substantial co-occurrence of domestic violence and substance abuse, it would be incorrect to state that either is an absolute direct causal factor of the other. What is most clear, however, is that alcohol use tends to result in more frequent and severe abuse by those who batter.

Second, being a victim of domestic violence is an extremely traumatic experience. Not surprisingly, therefore, some victims are likely to turn to drugs and/or alcohol as a way of coping with the abuse. Finally, domestic violence has a very tragic effect on the children who are unfortunate enough to witness it. They in turn are more likely than children not exposed to violence to develop violent behaviors of their own during childhood, and substance abuse later in life.

Fortunately, several programs and agencies in our county help victims of domestic violence. Please reach out this month and throughout the year to support them in their work. Volunteer. Provide a financial donation. Your assistance will make our community an increasingly safe place in which we all can live and work.

Robert McClelland

Chairman, North Coast Prevention Works


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