Alcoholics Anonymous Membership May Decrease Alcohol-Related Homicides

Armen Hareyan's picture
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  • There is a strong association between alcohol use and violence.

  • New findings confirm a strong relationship between alcohol consumption and homicide rates, particularly among males who consume beer and spirits.

  • Conversely, as Alcoholics Anonymous membership increased, homicide levels decreased.

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Studies consistently show a strong link between alcohol use and violence, such as homicide. New research that looks at the relationship among drinking, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) membership, and homicide mortality has found that AA can have a beneficial effect on alcohol-related homicide mortality rates, particularly among males who consume beer and spirits.

Results are published in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"It is important to try to understand the factors that could reduce alcohol's adverse effects," said Robert E. Mann, senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and associate professor of public health sciences at the University of Toronto. "We know that economic and legal measures such as taxation policies, increased drinking ages, and lowered legal limits for driving can exert powerful effects on alcohol problem rates. We also know that individual participation in AA and alcohol treatment can have very beneficial effects. We wanted to see if these beneficial effects are observable at population levels, that is, if numerous people are positively influenced." Mann is also the study's corresponding author.

According to the World Health Organization, said Mark Asbridge, assistant professor and chair of graduate studies in the department of community health and epidemiology at Dalhousie University, "alcohol is a leading [contributor to the] global burden of disease, and homicide is just one of a number of negative consequences of its consumption. Given this link, any policies or intervention that reduce or remove alcohol consumption are bound to offer some beneficial reduction in aggregate violent incidents

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