Homeless and Violent Behaviour: Linked with Substance Abuse
by kevingemme on February 19, 2014 - 12:22am
It is well known that there are homeless people in every major city. Often those itinerants are involved in violent situations that break down for various reasons. One of those reasons (also one of the most commons) is substance abuse. In fact, I found two stories that happened in Montreal and in New York that are about violent behaviour due to substance abuse of homeless people.
According to an article written by Aalia Adam on the Global News’ website, homeless people feel that it is unsafe to shelter in metro stations nowadays because of the violence that occurs there. This is due to the fact that at night, metro stations in Montreal are often filled with other homeless people that drink a lot and often this leads to violent behaviour. In fact, this article was written after a video of fight between two boozed up homeless people in metro Atwater in Montreal became viral on the Internet, depicting what often happens in the city. To remedy to this situation, the Old Brewery Mission, which is a homeless shelter in Montreal have started to provide shuttle services from metro stations to their shelters to offer the homeless warm beds to sleep in. However, there is limited space in the shelters, which still leaves many people in metro tunnels.
As mentioned earlier, this is not just an issue that occurs in Montreal. In fact, according to an article that appeared in 2012 on The Daily Mail’s website, there was a man that was attacked by a drunk homeless man in a New York subway station. The man eventually got pushed onto the subway tracks, but was able to come back to safety before there was any train that passed by. The victim did however sustain minor injuries that required him to be taken to the hospital. The homeless man was later arrested for reckless endangerment and assault. This goes to show that homeless people are often involved in violent stories, and those stories also often due to substance abuse.
There are many studies that have been conducted about itinerant’s substance abuse. One study in particular that was conducted at Florida Atlantic University focused on homeless people’s “lived experiences with substance abuse”. In other words, the research examined a sample of itinerants and asked them questions about their homeless experience. An interesting result they found was that out of the 75 homeless subjects, 73 of them admitted having a history of some kind of substance abuse. This is directly related to my stories as it shows that many itinerants are often faced with some kind of dangerous addictions that can modify their behaviour. Therefore, this might be a big reason why homeless people are often involved in violent situations.
This article was viewed through the discipline of Psychology. In fact, the American Psychological Association defines psychology as “the study of the mind and behaviour”. In the article, the research really focused on the personal experience of the itinerant and linked it to the behaviour, which was substance abuse and aggressive conduct.