A review of the scientific literature on the relationship between alcohol and violence and that between drugs and violence is presented. A review and analysis of three major theoretical approaches to understanding these relationships are also presented. A number of conclusions are reached on the basis of these efforts. First, despite a number of published statements to the contrary, we find no significant evidence suggesting that drug use is associated with violence. Second, there is substantial evidence to suggest that alcohol use is significantly associated with violence of all kinds. Third, recent theoretical efforts reviewed here have, despite shortcomings, led to significant new understanding of how and why alcohol and drugs are related to violence. Fourth, these theoretical models and a growing number of empirical studies demonstrate the importance of social context for understanding violence and the ways in which alcohol and drugs are related to violence. Fifth, the shortcomings of these theoretical models and the lack of definitive empirical tests of these perspectives point to the major directions where future research on the relationship between alcohol and violence, and between drugs and violence, is needed.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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