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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Guns, Violence and Substance Abuse

It has long been said that drugs and violence often go hand in hand. A new study has made a link between teens and young adults that seek treatment in the emergency room for injury from an assault. Those who own or carry a gun were found to be more likely to have problems with substance abuse than those without guns, according to researchers from the University of Michigan Injury Center.

689 teens and young adults who were treated in an emergency room for injuries from an assault were looked at in the study. Researchers found that 23 percent reported they owned or carried a gun in the past six months, teens with guns were more likely than those without them to use illegal drugs or misuse prescription drugs, the report showed. They were more likely to have been in a serious fight in recent months and were more likely to engage in retaliation after an injury, PsychCentral reports.

“This study zeroes in on a high-risk population of assault injured youth that has not been studied in this way previously,” lead author Patrick Carter, M.D., said in a news release. “The high rates of substance use, fighting and attitudes favoring retaliation, combined with the fact that so many of these youth had firearms, increases their risk for future firearm violence, as well as injury or death. But, our findings also provide an opportunity for public health interventions that could decrease their future firearm violence risk.”  

The report was published in the journal Pediatrics.

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