Factora That May Foreshadow Violent Acts!

Factora That May Foreshadow Violent Acts!
Posted by FoM on June 16, 1999 at 20:37:38 PT
By Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Medical Writer
Source: LA Times
The aftermath of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colo., has left many authorities questioning whether a propensity to violent acts or drug use can be predicted.
 A new USC study--begun long before the April shooting--provides some of the first clues to such predictors. Among the important factors are being a victim of violence, identifying with certain groups on campus, such as gang members and "stoners" (drug users), and smoking marijuana. Psychologist Steven Sussman and his colleagues studied 55 boys and girls, ages 15 to 19, who are students at Southern California continuation high schools--special schools for youths with discipline or academic problems. Unlike students in conventional high schools, fully 70% reported when they were first interviewed of having been involved in violence against property or people. Students who identified themselves as belonging to the high-risk groups, such as gang members and stoners, reported significantly more alcohol, marijuana and other drug use in the year following the interview and a much higher number of reports of violence. Surprisingly, according to Sussman, use of alcohol, amphetamines and heroin did not predict later violence. The only drug they found that did have such predictive value was marijuana. The results will be published in upcoming issues of Psychology of Addictive Behavior and the American Journal of Health Behavior. Just a note.This is hard for me to believe!
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Comment #1 posted by Steve Sussman on March 10, 2000 at 18:28:51 PT:
marijuana and violence
Our study included approximately 1000 youth. The small sample size in the LA Times article was a typo. These were the results, some of which may be important, though clearly there is a debate on whether or not marijuana is associated with violence (note also our review paper in Journal of Drug Issues in 1996). Pro-marijuana and anti-marijuana supporters alike acknowledge the negative lung consequences of marijuana use, effects on accidents, and potential carcinogenic effects, and possible memory encoding effects. The violence literature, though, is strange. There is always the possibility that many people who use marijuana also tend to become violent - third variable confound. The statistics are not in error, but are subject to different interpretations. Best wishes, Steve Sussman 
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