Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 309-324

First online:

The Effectiveness of Substance Abuse Treatment in Reducing Violent Behavior

  • Robert G. OrwinAffiliated withBattelle Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation
  • , Michael MarandaAffiliated withBattelle Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation
  • , Bruce EllisAffiliated withBattelle Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation

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The use of alcohol and other drugs has long been associated with violence. Yet relatively little is known about the effect of treatment on specific violent behaviors. This study examines violent behaviors in the National TreatmentImprovement Evaluation Study (NTIES), and assesses the extent to which treatment appears to reduce violence for each measured behavior. It also examines these reductions by gender, treatment modality, and whether the client wasa victim of violence in addition to being a perpetrator. The results indicate large reductions in violence among clients actively violent during the pretreatment period, with virtually no increase in violence among clients not actively violent during that same period, irrespective of gender, modality, or victimization status. On their face, the results strongly suggest that substance abuse treatment is effective in reducing violent behavior. Alternative explanations areproposed and assessed, followed by implications for policy, practice, and future research.

substance abuse substance abuse treatment violence victimization drug policy