30 Days to a Safer Neighborhood: Domestic Violence and Drug Abus - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

30 Days to a Safer Neighborhood: Domestic Violence and Drug Abuse

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Statistics show that parental substance abuse and domestic violence increase the chances a child will grow up to abuse drugs and show signs of abuse towards others, so spreading awareness is crucial.

"The bath salts were really bad for awhile, and those did create some very psychotic-type, crazy behaviors on the part of batterers that made some very dangerous situations," said Jackie Ritter of HOPE Incorporated.

Whether it's bath salts or heroin, experts said there is a statistical correlation between drug abuse and domestic violence.

Studies show that 61 percent of domestic violence offenders also have substance abuse problems, but for Jackie Ritter of HOPE Inc., that number has proven to be even higher.

"I'm going to guess around 75 percent, at least, indicate that there is some kind of problem with substance abuse or alcohol," said Ritter.

Unfortunately for a victim, the reality is his or her attacker might not be the only one with drugs or alcohol in their system and often, not by the victims' choice.

"Multiple victims that have come in either know they were drugged or think they were drugged. Sometimes we think we live in this bubble in West Virginia and that things like that don't happen," said Adrianne Nichols of HOPE Inc.

HOPE Inc. said 3/4 of "acquaintance rapes", also known as "date rapes," involve drugs or alcohol.

"If you're the victim, and you're under the influence of drugs, then obviously you're not going to be in your best capacity to fight off an assault," said Nichols.

"Because of that, what he does do could be more severe and more injuring," said Ritter.

Ritter said abusers often use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for their actions.

"It's important to remember that he had those attitudes and beliefs about abuse was okay before he took that first drink or drug, and that it made it easier to act on it," said Ritter.

"If you put a veneer of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction issues on top of all the domestic violence tendencies folks have, it just removes inhibitions, allows people not to think before they act," said Lou Ortenzio of the Clarksburg Mission.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact HOPE Inc., who can put victims in touch with domestic abuse task forces across the state.