Victimization Puts Individuals at Risk of Addiction

By Staff Writer

Individuals who have gone through a violent experience are significantly more likely to suffer from addiction and require substance abuse help, particularly if they are a homosexual, according to a new study from the University of Illinois.

The researchers wanted to determine if victimization plays a role in an individual’s desire to use drugs. For the purposes of the study, victimization was defined as an unwanted sexual activity, physical violence, neglect or assault with a weapon.

To test the effect of victimization, researchers reviewed the responses of nearly 35,000 adults to a national survey that included information on past experiences and current drug use. They found that women who reported two or more incidences of victimization were two to four times more likely to use drugs.

Furthermore, homosexuals were significantly more likely to report victimization. This put them at a greater risk of substance abuse.

The researchers said that individuals who have gone through a traumatic experience may use drugs to cope with the negative feelings. However, they added that drug seeking behavior may put them into situations that make them a target for further victimization.