For years, industry experts have questioned the relationship between drugs and alcohol and violence. Some suggest that one leads to the other, while opponents argue that drugs merely highlight those attributes an individual already has. A recent Science Daily report examines a new study that shows that high levels of drug and alcohol consumption are responsible for the growth in violence among young tourists.
Spain is one of the most popular tourist destinations for young Europeans, with Mallorca and Ibiza being especially popular. For this reason, three teams of researchers studied the link between the consumption of alcohol and other drugs and violent behavior in recreational tourist areas there. They found that 5 percent of tourists visiting these areas became involved in some kind of violence during their stay. Ecstasy proved to be the only drug consumed that scientists have not linked to violent acts.
“Young people increase their consumption of alcohol and other drugs during the holidays—and violence rises in line with this,” said Montse Juan, researcher at the European Institute of Studies of Prevention (IREFREA) and one of the study’s authors. “Despite this, very few studies exist to inform us about this, particularly within the tourism context, where this predominates.”
To gauge the relationship between substance use and tourists, researchers compared the violent behavior of 3,003 British, German, and Spanish tourists between the ages of 16 and 35 visiting the islands of Mallorca and Ibiza between 2007 and 2008.
Among the respondents, 32.4 percent reported that they had witnessed violent episodes from time to time during their vacation. Another 5.7 percent had witnessed such incidents frequently. In 4.6 percent of cases, tourists claimed they had seen violence every time they ventured out at night.
More than half of the study participants claimed that they got drunk more than twice per week over the course of their vacation. Illegal drug consumption was also present, with the greatest among British and Spanish tourists in Ibiza.
“Cocaine users were almost three times more likely to become involved in a fight than people who did not take it,” said Amador Calafat, the report’s other Spanish author. “Tourists who got drunk five or more days per week were 2.5 times more likely to get into a fight than those who didn’t drink during their holidays.”