4. The Silent Partners

4.1 High Society

While substance abuse is a recurring theme in accident, homicide, and suicide statistics, the Canadian government does not pay enough attention to the pivotal role increasing alcohol and drug use play in criminal behaviour; e.g. crimes involving the possession, trafficking, and importation of cocaine and heroin in Canada increased 392% and 71%, respectively, between 1982 and 1992 [1]. Unfortunately, a 1988 federal government report on the correctional system in Canada devoted less than one of its 300 pages to describing alcohol and drug treatment requirements for parolees, and made no further attempt to explore the issue [2].

The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics reports that a survey of inmates in a federal penitentiary revealed that 52% report being under the influence (primarily of alcohol) when they committed at least one crime in their sentence [3]. Over one-half of violent men who injured their spouses had been drinking alcohol at the time [4]. Over 50% of inmates report being engaged in illegal activity in order to obtain drugs [5].

A large majority of inmates report the consumption of a mind-altering substance as directly responsible for their criminal actions, with 81% of those who consumed alcohol indicating that their crimes would not have been committed if they hadn't been drinking [6]. Over 30% of all robbery suspects were known to have consumed drugs/alcohol at the time of the offense [7]. Even more disturbing, however, is that victim injury is more severe and more likely to occur when the offender has been either drinking alcohol or taking drugs [8].

Gun control advocates propose expensive regulatory bureaucracies, obstensibly to "prevent" violent acts with guns. In actual fact, if the finances allocated to restrictive "gun control" were instead applied to comprehensive alcohol/drug treatment and prevention programs at a national level, Canada could conceivably reduce its prison inmate population and crime rate by as much as 50%. Resources spent on complex firearm control bureaucracies divert funding from other legitimate public health concerns where the need for financing is much more critical, and which have a much greater probability of reducing crime and violence in our society.

"Although the relationship between alcoholism and violence is extremely complex, an extensive body of research linking alcoholism and drinking with antisocial personality traits and violent behaviour provides substantial justification for a presumption that a person repeatedly involved in alcohol-related crimes is at a much higher-than-average risk of committing a violent act in the future" [9].

Kleck, Point Blank