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. 

Comments

Homeless people are more likely to fall into the downward spiral that are due to drugs. If you try getting into the mindset of someone who is homeless, it is no surprise that they fall back onto drugs for "salvation". Why does everyone take drugs? Because they want to feel that high! They want to feel their paradise. When you're homeless, I don't think you see any paradise in the "normal" world. So in order to cope with being homeless, drugs is the imminent solution. Now where there is drugs, there will always be violence. If you ask any random person, "What would you do if someone tried to steal something you loved?", many people would either respond neutrally or aggressive. People always fight for something they love, whether it is "the one" or their favorite football team. Something's are worth fighting for to someone. Now back to the mindset of someone who is homeless. What do you love? Drugs! Drugs get you out of your living hell. Now if someone had some of your "paradise" or wouldn't sell you your "paradise", of course you will get violent. Plus since you're homeless, you don't have anything to lose, but you have everything to gain.

Homeless people are more likely to fall into the downward spiral that are due to drugs. If you try getting into the mindset of someone who is homeless, it is no surprise that they fall back onto drugs for "salvation". Why does everyone take drugs? Because they want to feel that high! They want to feel their paradise. When you're homeless, I don't think you see any paradise in the "normal" world. So in order to cope with being homeless, drugs is the imminent solution. Now where there is drugs, there will always be violence. If you ask any random person, "What would you do if someone tried to steal something you loved?", many people would either respond neutrally or aggressive. People always fight for something they love, whether it is "the one" or their favorite football team. Something's are worth fighting for to someone. Now back to the mindset of someone who is homeless. What do you love? Drugs! Drugs get you out of your living hell. Now if someone had some of your "paradise" or wouldn't sell you your "paradise", of course you will get violent. Plus since you're homeless, you don't have anything to lose, but you have everything to gain.

This blog is very informative and I love how you used sources to back up your claim. I do not believe homeless people are violent just because of their abuse of drugs and alcohol, however I do believe the abuse of drugs and alcohol is the cause of the being. I would like for you to look at violent homeless people and their situation from a different prospective. Maybe they are violent just because they are so frustrated with the world that they live in and they take it out on the world. Or maybe they are desperate and have no other choices, this may be the reason why they commit crimes, like thievery and murder. I would challenge you to look at each city and rate of homelessness and identify the problems and reasons why.

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