Methamphetamine Use and Violence

Ira Sommers, California State University - Los Angeles
Deborah Baskin, California State University - Los Angeles

The current research analyzed the pharmacological effects, situational contexts and processual dynamics of methamphetamine use, distribution and violence. Interviews were conducted with a targeted sample of 130 respondents. The research was based primarily on in-depth, life-history interviews with individuals who used methamphetamine for a minimum of three months and who resided in Los Angeles County. Of the 130 respondents, 48 (36.9%) had committed violence while under the influence of methamphetamine. Males comprised two-thirds of the 48 respondents (N=32). Of the total sample, 40.5% of males and 31.4% of females committed methamphetamine-related violence, respectively. Seventeen of the 48 respondents who committed methamphetamine-related violence (35.4%) reported that they had never committed a violent crime prior to the methamphetamine-based events. However, 82.4% (N=14) of these respondents had committed aggressive acts while under the influence of other drugs. Overall, the 48 respondents reported 70 separate violent events while using methamphetamine. Of these 70 events, 36 (51.4%) acts of violence involved domestic relationships, 28.6% (N=20) of the violent events were drug related, 8.6% (N=6) were gang related, and 11.4% (N=8) involved random acts of violence (e.g., road rage, stranger assault).

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Updated 05/20/2006